With Lagonda’s relaunch, Aston Martin is taking the fight directly to Rolls-Royce. And the battle is already heating up.
Ahead of revealing the new autonomous electric Lagonda Vision concept, Aston Martin design chief Marek Reichman fired the first shots in the escalating war of words.
“Look at Rolls-Royce: it’s the most luxurious car in the world,” Reichman told Autocar. “Given its roots, its reason for being, it’s essentially still an internal combustion engine to replace a horse, a carriage and a trunk. It’s an imperfect package for luxury.”
Aston’s approach is to completely redesign the automobile for optimal packaging of its electric powertrain, instead of adapting existing forms to battery propulsion. “Electrification in particular has huge advantages for the layout of cars,” said Reichman. “You can put the weight and the powerplant where you want it. It’s not determined by history, pushing or pulling a carriage. There’s a freedom to think differently.”
“Rolls-Royce and Bentley are Ancient Greece today. I worked on the original Phantom. The brief was Buckingham Palace on wheels. It was important to do that to establish it. But the world has changed, and the royals have changed.”
Aston’s rivals at Rolls-Royce, of course, feel differently. “They really don’t understand our segment, they really don’t understand the customers,” responded Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös in an interview with the Financial Times, cited by Autocar. “They are in a complete different league on pricing, they have zero clue what’s going on in the upper, upper segment – zero. I am sorry to be so blunt.”
Müller-Ötvös referred to his company’s Vision Next 100 concept, internally known as 103EX. “When we revealed 103EX to the world in 2016, Rolls-Royce set the agenda for the future of luxury mobility,” said the chief exec. “Since then, it has become clear that other car brands have acknowledged our vision, so much so that they have adopted most aspects, apart from the most visionary and radical. Rolls-Royce’s vision in 2016 was, and remains, all-electric, completely autonomous, completely bespoke mobility – coupled with ultimate luxury.”
Them’s fightin’ words, to be sure. And we have a feeling this won’t be the last of them, either.