Thursday, December 20, 2012

Parts-Bin Aston Martins

Not only is the 1989-2000 Aston Martin Virage an ugly car, but apparently they also stole the steering wheel from my parents' 1992 Ford Aerostar. 

Aston Martin Virage interior

Standard Ford steering wheel from the '90s (Crown Vic pictured)

Notice the placement of the horn buttons, and the Aston logo in the exact location of the Ford logo. The Aston's interior wouldn't be so hideous were it not for that glaring black contrast of a steering wheel and its cheap, plastic turn signal stalk.

The Virage hit the market not long after Ford took a stake in the brand. This was the time when they started picking up premium brands like Land Rover, Volvo, and, as you can see, Aston Martin. I don't know their exact business strategy in doing that, but we can clearly see it involved some parts-bin cost reduction strategies. 

I can understand sharing components that are out of sight like, say, a steering rack, wheel hubs, differentials. But a steering wheel? That so clearly diminishes the driving experience, and its poor quality is apparent the moment the customer plops into the seat. Not what you want when you're considering shelling out 200 grand. Maybe that's why they didn't sell many of these. Hey, that makes them rare and valuable! 

Today, Ford doesn't own as much of the brand, and Virages are worth about $35,000. Which means you can still buy a nicer Ford Fusion—with a better steering wheel—for less money.

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