While other companies were taking the wraps off new or updated vehicles at the 84th Geneva Motor Show, Aston Martin is using the event to showcase the Q Lounge concept, a space where discerning clients can come to personalise every detail of their car.
As General Manager of VIP and Q by Aston Martin Sales Matthew Bennett explained: "The service is a natural extension of what many of our customers have expected of us for many years. The process of creating and specifying a new Aston Martin can take some time – time that our customers rightly expect to savour. What Q by Aston Martin adds to that already exciting process is the freedom to think beyond specification sheets and options lists – to challenge the designers and engineers here at Gaydon to use their talents to produce something truly remarkable, and unique."
And unique is the optimum word. As the results of this year's Forbes rich list reveal, there are a record number of billionaires in the world at the moment. This is both good news and bad news for the world's luxury and supercar makers: their vehicles have never been in such high demand.
However, as cars considered exclusive start to become popular, the need to make them unique – so that they stand out – has clearly never been so great.
For Ferrari and Rolls-Royce, 2013 was a record year for client personalisation requests, and for many car companies actively courting the world's elite, as much focus is now being placed on bespoke and customisation services as on performance figures.
Aston's take on leading clients along the path to customisation is a lounge setting, where paint samples, leathers and veneers are displayed, just like visiting a Savile Row tailors.
But the samples and swatches are augmented by images and films of past Q by Aston Martin creations. Aston Martin Design Director, Marek Reichman, said: "Q by Aston Martin is really all about freedom. The freedom to work with us here at our Gaydon headquarters to create something really special. Something that uniquely demonstrates a customer's attitude, their personality and their taste."
Although still in concept form, the Q Lounge could become the blueprint for how the service is presented, with bespoke customisation rooms like the one on show in Geneva coming to a number of Aston Martin dealerships around the world in the near future.
Coincidentally, Lamborghini is also debuting a very similar service at the Geneva Motor Show with its Ad Personam design studio, what the company describes as a "fully-functional and highly-exclusive design studio where customers are assisted in the process of creating their very own, made-to-order Lamborghini Aventador". – AFP/Relaxnews, March 5, 2014.