It seems like it only started about a week ago, but 2013 is already nearly over – but what have we learned from another 12 months of automotive news and events? Let the car leasing specialists at The Leden Group take you through their three highlights of the year.
People don’t want to pay over £30,000 for a city car
When Aston Martin launched the Cygnet back in 2011, it was supposed to be their luxury answer to the small city car, hopefully emulating the success of the likes of the Audi A1 and BMW’s Minis.
However, despite targeting annual sales of 4,000 units, the Cygnet managed to shift fewer than 150, resulting in the British manufacturer pulling the plug on production in October – so why the failure?
At £32,000 ($51,500) the Cygnet was about twice the price of its competitors, and three times the price of the Toyota iQ that it was based on – hardly representing value for money. The premium supermini market is on the up at the moment, so it was a huge missed opportunity for Aston Martin, who have struggled ever since the downturn.
Self-driving cars maybe closer than we think
It is the stuff of science fiction, but the announcement that Google had teamed up with major automotive supplier Continental in the development of the self-drive car seemed to suggest it wasn’t as far away as one might imagine.
In the three years since the internet search giant begun work on the project they have driven a combined 500,000 miles of public highway autonomously, and the backing of a major player in the industry like Continental is a massive coup for Google. In fact, Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin claimed that self-driving cars could be on offer by 2017 – a bold claim indeed – but considering their financial and intellectual prowess, would you bet against them?
Sebastian Vettel is a bit good.
At the tender age of 26 Sebastian Vettel became only the fourth man in history to win four Formula One World Championships, alongside legends of the sport Juan Manuel Fangio, Alain Prost and Michael Schumacher.
Putting his age into perspective, Schumacher was 32 when we won his fourth (of seven) world titles, which would suggest that Vettel could go on to become the most successful driver of all time.
The win in India that clinched the title was his sixth in succession, which keeps him on track for equalling the record of nine consecutive wins set by Alberto Ascari back in the 50s – although even he missed one race.
Regardless of whether he equals that record or not – or indeed the record of 13 race wins in a season set by Schumacher – Sebastian Vettel is undoubtedly one of the finest Formula One drivers of all time.
This guest blog was written by John Rooney on behalf of The Leden Group – offering car leasing on a huge range of car makes and models, from Ford Fiestas through to Aston Martin DB9s.