Aston Martin first revealed the Lagonda SUV concept at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, and now it appears the brand is getting ready to unveil an updated version of that design. Autocar reports that Aston Martin sees a new SUV as critical to gaining market share in China.
Because sales of exotic cars in Europe and North America will likely remain depressed for some time, Aston Martin can hope for sales growth only by expanding in China. The Lagonda SUV is important because the Chinese market, although growing, has little interest in expensive sports and supercars like the Aston Martin DBS flagship.
"Although the Chinese market remains buoyant, that won't feed through to Aston because the Chinese don't yet see the value of displaying their wealth through owning an expensive sports car," an analyst from IHS Automotive told Autocar.
Instead, wealthy buyers in China are interested in luxurious SUVs. That explains why Bentley is planning an SUV model, why Lamborghini expects China to be a big market for its upcoming Urus SUV, and why Land Rover is keen on expanding its number of showrooms there.
Although we had previously heard that the Lagonda SUV would be just the start of a model range that could include a sedan, Autocar suggests that Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez has already said no to the idea of a four-door car. He reportedly admitted that a new Lagonda SUV concept would be shown "in the coming months." That could mean it will appear at the Paris Motor Show in September. Expect a very different design: the ungainly 2009 concept (pictured) was met with overwhelmingly negative reactions.
It's unclear whether this vehicle would be a bespoke Aston Martin design; the previous Lagonda SUV was said to use the running gear of the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. It had previously been suggested that Aston Martin would build Maybach sedans in exchange for Mercedes helping develop the Lagonda SUV. Given that the Maybach brand has been scrapped, that arrangement now seems unlikely.