In 2012 EU introduced new rules about fleet emissions for automakers. Smaller niche automakers that were part of a larger automotive group could use the groups average emissions but smaller automakers that were standalone companies like Aston and Bentley had to resolve it themselves.
Aston Martin engineers came up with the idea to build a small city car so that they would not have to re-engineer their bigger V8 and V12 engines. According to the first release of the Cygnet it could bring down Aston Martins emissions by half if the met the estimated sales number of 4000 cars/year worldwide.
As most people know the Cygnet was built from Toyota IQs that were built in the Toyota factory and then sent to Astons factory in Gaydon, England to be rebuilt to the Cygnet. The car got new body panels, a new grill, new tail lights and a new handbuilt interior but kept the IQs overall body shape and drivetrain.
Sadly for Aston Martin the car was no where near as successful as they had hoped. They had estimated 4000 cars/year and according to uncomfirmed sources they only sold roughly 350 cars worldwide. Which makes this car highly collectable for Aston Martin car colletors. When this post is made Cygnets are selling in Europe for as high as 50,000 Euro. Which is interesting as Cygnets were sold for around 32,000 Euro when it was new.
Here is a video about how the car was rebuilt from the Toyota IQ to the Aston Martin Cygnet