The world’s automotive manufacturers are still in love with the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) despite the fact that the majority of them will either never be used as a utility vehicle or cannot be referenced as a sports model! Over the last decade, we have seen the market grow from a handful of models from Range Rover, Porsche and Lincoln to pretty much every luxury manufacturer attempting a late entry into the market.
One of the last to market has been Aston Martin who now have two concepts under development: the Aston Martin DBX, scheduled to be on sale next year, 2020, and the Lagonda SUV which is expected to be all-electric. Both models will be built at a new factory in South Wales, near Cardiff.
One report took a small comment from the media announcement and suggested that the Lagonda was designed like a super-yacht, however the extended comment is that Lagonda used styling concepts from the Concorde supersonic aircraft on the exterior with super-yacht ideas mixed in to give it a better visual flow. The Lagonda All-Terrain Concept to give it its full name has a bullet shape rather than the boxy style adopted by everyone else and taken to its extreme by Rolls-Royce!
Aston Martin Lagonda are aiming for a 2022 launch of the vehicle which they anticipate will make them the first zero emission luxury brand. That is a subtle dig at Tesla, Karma and others who believe that they are the first to service this market segment. The specs of the power system haven’t yet been released, however the vehicle is a “vegan” one – it has no leather inside, instead it uses a wide variety of natural materials such as cashmere that can be sourced without the death of the donor animal!
With regards to the power, like many other manufacturers, Aston Martin has been able to embed the batteries into the floorpan which frees up a large amount of interior space as well as improving the centre of gravity, however, with any SUV that might have a possibility of going off road, it will be important to protect the batteries from damage. With no heavy internal combustion engine, the whole package can be utilised in a different way, bearing in mind that crash protection is still important.
As the DBX is the first of the group’s SUV’s, we can expect the All-Terrain Concept to evolve with similar suspension technology as the DBX and we could see the DBX evolving with design concepts from the Lagonda. Both will come from the same factory, so having similar equipment will help reduce costs – not that cost will be a factor when these vehicles are released to the market. Buyers of Aston Martin products are not short of a quid or two and some media reports suggest that the Lagonda’s retail price will exceed that of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan which starts at around $700k in Australia before options are added!
The new factory in South Wales has a bit of a history, it started life as a group of super hangars used by the Ministry of Defence and has seen a new lease of life as the “Home of Electrification” as Aston Martin Lagonda now call it. The factory is inside the boundaries of the MOD St Athan military airbase, although with the military departing, the Government has been filling the site with high tech companies.
Here at Motoring Weekly, we are keen to see what the end product looks like and the expected performance figures. 2022 isn’t that far off, however many manufacturers are expected to release plugin electric vehicles to fill all market segments, including the high end luxury segments. So by the time the All-Terrain Concept reaches the market, it will be up against a number of very competitive products, most of which will be far cheaper. Buyers will still line up to be the first to own this type of vehicle – the world would have to be in a Third World War to stop sales at this level of the market!
Images owned and provided by Aston Martin Lagonda.