The upcoming Aston Martin DBX SUV will be built at a new factory in Wales, the British manufacturer has announced.
750 new jobs will be created at the St Athan facility, to the west of Cardiff. Three ‘super hangers’ previously used by the MoD at the site will be converted to house production of the car, as part of an ongoing £200 million investment programme in new products and facilities.
More than 20 sites in locations as diverse as Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the USA and two others in the UK were under consideration.
Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer set out the reasons behind the decision to build the SUV in Wales: “Through a detailed evaluation of over 20 potential global locations for the new manufacturing facility, we were consistently impressed with the focus on quality, cost and speed from the Welsh Government team.”
First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, said: “We have been working closely with [Aston Martin] for almost two years in the face of fierce competition from other potential sites across the world. Our success today is testament to the reputation, dedication and skills of the Welsh workforce.
Construction is due to begin at St Athan in 2017, with production of the SUV set to start in 2020.
An electrically-powered concept car called ‘DBX’ was a surprise unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show last year. Despite proving controversial, production was inevitable; demand for luxury SUVs is growing almost exponentially, particularly in China and the US, and luxury carmakers can’t really afford to be without one, even if they don’t necessarily fit with their traditional brand values.
St Athan will be the sole production facility for the DBX, with 90% of its output expected to be exported.
Aston Martin also reaffirmed its commitment to its existing plant at Gaydon with the creation of another 250 jobs. Going forward, the Midlands facility will handle production of all Aston’s sports cars, plus the upcoming RapidE electric saloon.
The new DB11 will start production at Gaydon later this year and, by the end of decade, the entire Aston range will be replaced and expanded. Aston is targeting sales of 7,000 sports car per year by 2020.
Alongside the 1,000 jobs it is creating itself, Aston estimates another 3,000 will be added at supply chain companies. Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Aston Martin is an iconic British brand and the decision to invest here shows real confidence in out economy.
“With our economic strengths and easy access to European markets, the UK automotive sector is thriving. It is one of the biggest in Europe – and the most productive – and Aston’s creation of up to 1,000 new jobs in Wales and the West Midlands is welcome news.”
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By Only Motors