Lagonda is set to celebrate its 100th anniversary next year. But while enthusiasts are bound to celebrate by recalling Lagondas of yore, Aston Martin plans to give us all something more tangible to commemorate by reviving the long-dormant marque. (Truth be told, having been founded in 1906, Lagonda marked its centenary two years ago already. But we're not going to let some simple facts get in the way of a good story, now are we?)
The British automaker produced luxury cars independently until 1947 when it was bought by Aston Martin. Although Aston used the Lagonda name as a model designation from 1976 to 1989 for a quirky angular four-door, with a handful of coachbuilt specials and concept cars in between, the last model Lagonda produced was the 1961-65 Rapide, a nameplate which Aston is also revived with its upcoming four-door coupe model, previewed by the 2006 concept in Detroit. While the production Rapide is expected to continue as an Aston Martin, the company is planning a unique concept car to be unveiled at the Geneva show next March that will show the way forward for the rejuvenated marque.
While Aston has not confirmed what form the vehicle, which could hit the streets as soon as 2012, will take, they've reportedly ruled out the possibility of a sport-ute. Sources suggest a new competitor aimed at Bentley and Rolls-Royce, although the Longonda will be more focused on performance than long distance cruising. No telling what that will mean for Aston's partnership with Mercedes-Benz, which has its own failing Maybach brand competing in the segment as well. However the resuscitation of Lagonda is bound to form a vital component of Aston Martin's ambitious growth plan. (Press release after the jump.)
[Source: Aston Martin]
Aston Martin CEO confirms the revival of the Lagonda Marque
Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer Dr Ulrich Bez has today confirmed his intention to revive the Lagonda marque.
In a statement today he said, "After my eight years with Aston Martin, four with profitability, and 16 months of independence, it's time to think about a longer term future. Aston Martin is an honest, authentic brand which builds the most beautiful sportscars combining modern technology with craftsmanship. Next year we will launch the four door Rapide sportscar, and this will be followed by the project 'one 77', the most spectacular Aston Martin ever. Aston Martins are currently available in 32 countries but we will remain limited in our market penetration by the pure character of our cars - sportscars.
"We have now investigated and concluded that the revival of the Lagonda brand would allow us to develop cars which can have a different character than a sportscar, and therefore offer a perfect synergy. Lagonda will use a unique design language as Aston Martin does. We will take elements of DNA from the past but will be very future orientated as we are with Aston Martin. With Lagonda offering exclusive, luxurious and truly versatile products with high quality and usability and suitable for both existing and emerging markets, I believe we can be present in more than 100 countries in the world.
"In 2009 Lagonda is about to celebrate its 100th birthday and in its centenary year we are confident that we will show the first concept of a car which could be in the market in 2012," he confirmed.