”Fashion cars”, a real business opportunity or merely a marketing exercise

Last week, British luxury sports car maker Aston Martin unveiled a surprise model, commissioned by Parisian concept store Collette and created in collaboration with Cygnet. The exclusive luxury version of the Cygnet city car will be produced. Aston Martin Works Tailored will produse only 14 units of the hand-crafted vehicle with endless options available. Orders for the 14 ‘Cygnet & colette’ pieces can be placed through the colette store in Paris for delivery by the end of the year, with prices starting from 48,995 euros.

The design includes an exterior coat of paint in Lightning Silver, with blue detailing and a new bumper and bonnet, mirrors, and wheels. Inside is a textured theme of Bitter Chocolate color and blue tailoring accents. Unique pattered fabrics cover the seats and added cushions, and the design even comes with a custom key ring. Other modifications include hand crafted stainless steel badges and throw pillows.

The new Cygnet by Collette car has been received as a major surprise, not only given its small size but also price range. To make things even more confusing, the small car is also being marketed by Aston Martin, its official website presenting the new car launch as a new model. But why would Aston Martin, known for its powerful sports vehicles loan its huge branding awareness to a limited edition model developed by a fashion concept store ?

The question comes up considering other such collaborations were based on a fashion house designing materials for the interior of the car. The most relevant examples are the Burberry MINI and the Gucci FIAT 500, both car brands being known for their small sized vehicles. If Aston Martin’s purpose was to emphasize its innovative and creative DNA the project definitely achieved that. However, if the Collette car is Aston Martin’s debut of an possible endless series of collaborations and co-branded products I am not sure Aston Martin owners would be pleased. It remains to be seen whether we are going to buy Aston Martin laptops, shoes or toys.