Aston: How will Lagonda shape up?

Palmer: Break three-box mold.

As if plotting to challenge Ferrari in the midengine supercar arena wasn’t difficult enough, Aston Martin also is brainstorming how best to break the stranglehold Rolls-Royce and Bentley have on the ultraluxury sedan market.

The two Lagonda models planned for sale early next decade are the last of seven cars Aston will create as part of its Second Century turnaround plan — and are potentially the hardest to get right.

“If you’re going to break the duopoly of Bentley and Rolls-Royce, you have to do it with something other than the standard three-box sedan,” Aston CEO Andy Palmer told Automotive News at the November launch of the Vantage sports car at the automaker’s U.K. headquarters.

Just what shape that challenge will take hasn’t been decided.

“If I was to take you next door [to the design studio], which I won’t, you’d see six concept clays for each, 12 in total. There’s a lot of creative thought going into this,” Palmer said.

He admits that Bentley and Rolls-Royce buyers are more conservative than those for sports cars but says younger customers in markets such as China are more open to a new approach, hence the need to break the three-box mold.

“You’ve got to give an alternative. We’re coming to one of those cusps of generational changes — what we’re trying to do is anticipate what that generational change might be,” he said.

The two would come with an electrified option, whether plug-in hybrid or fully electric, Palmer said. Aston’s current four-door Rapide, based on a sports-car platform, failed to make much of a dent on Bentley and Roll-Royce sales since launching in 2010.