BERLIN -- Aston Martin's new Cygnet minicar will be a cult hit like the brand's models made famous by James Bond movies, CEO Ulrich Bez said.
The rebadged Toyota iQ minicar, once destined just for Europe, will be sold in the United States in 2012.
Just a little larger than the Smart ForTwo, the Cygnet is a major departure from the company's usual big, high-performance sports cars.
Bez said he believes the Cygnet has the appeal to make it an icon, just like the DB5 that James Bond drove in hit movies.
Bez spoke at the Automobilwoche industry conference here. Automobilwoche is a sibling publication to Automotive News.
"The Cygnet is exclusive and bears an exclusive brand name," Bez said, adding that the car's stylish design and innovative features make it "advanced, iconic and iconoclastic."
Bez said Aston Martin will sell about 3,000 Cygnets a year worldwide, priced starting at about 30,000 euros (about $42,000 at current exchange rates).
The car is a reworked, upscale version of the Toyota iQ and will be assembled at Aston Martin's Gaydon, England, factory starting in early 2011.
Bez said the Cygnet will help Aston Martin reduce its fleet carbon dioxide emissions in line with demands from legislators in Europe and the United States.
After two decades of ownership by Ford Motor Co., the British luxury sports car brand was sold for $674 million in 2007 to a group of investors led by Kuwait's Investment Dar.
Bez said not many people thought Aston Martin would survive alone but the company was profitable through the crisis and will be profitable in 2010 and the coming years. He said: "My investors are happy."