AP Business Writer
GENEVA (AP) -- The average owner of a Spyker Aileron has seven cars. CEO Victor Muller says his customers don't need to choose between a Porsche and a Spyker; they can buy both.
"They have all the Porsches in their life they can buy. They buy a Spyker because they want something else," said Muller on the sidelines of the Geneva Motor Show. "They want to have something that doesn't drive up to them at the traffic light."
But now he'd like to lower the barrier to entry slightly to expand the "gene pool" of Spyker customers. Enter, the two-door, two-seater B6 Venator, a car that feels like an old-fashioned airplane. Like the kind of airplanes Spyker used to build, in fact. It will go into production in 2014 and will sell for between $125,000 and $150,000, as compared to around $250,000 for the Aileron.
Spyker begun in 1880 as a carriage-maker and eventually went into cars and airplanes, but shut down in 1925. Muller, who designed the Venator, revived the brand in 2000 because he wanted to make a car he wanted to drive. The company posted its first profit in the first half of 2012, though that was due to a debt restructuring.
UNDER THE HOOD: The rear-mounted 6-cylinder engine has 375 horsepower. The 6-speed automatic transmission can also be put in manual mode.
OUTSIDE: The carbon-fiber body makes reference to airplanes throughout, from the mesh grille to the wheels and headlights that look like engine turbines. An all-glass roof gives the impression of a cockpit bubble. The dipped hood hides some storage space.
INSIDE: The camel-colored leather-tufted seats look like Amelia Earhart should be in them. Much of the dashboard is made up of old-fashioned dials and a bright red cover hides the ignition switch. The gear shift is a metal-clad joy stick.
CHEERS: The design of the car is unified and elegant -- a departure from the more muscly premium sports cars on display at Geneva.
OPEN QUESTIONS: "This is a car that will bring people into the brand at a much more affordable price level," Muller said. "If they grow up with us, one day they'll buy an Aileron." It remains to be seen if Spyker can develop the kind of loyal -- and wide -- customer base that keeps companies like Ferrari and Lamborghini going.
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