It emerged last month that Aston Martin was looking to add a second plant in preparation for several new models due out in the coming years and the extra capacity they’ll require. A possible location for the new plant was said to be here in the U.S., though Aston Martin could just as easily convert a former Jaguar plant back in the U.K. or expand its existing Gaydon facility.
In a new interview with Automotive News (subscription required), the company’s CEO Andy Palmer said a decision on the location will be made at the end of the year. He also admitted that the U.S., more precisely the state of Alabama, was the “obvious choice”.
Palmer said the new plant will be for an SUV inspired by the DBX concept car unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, and that it should be located in a region where most of the vehicles will be sold. He explained that most of the SUVs will be sold in China and the U.S., and that setting up a plant in the U.S. was easier than in China.
This is because the company would have to form a joint venture with a local firm to build cars in China. And then there’s the tough task of convincing shoppers paying top dollar for a vehicle to buy one that’s made in China.
Finally, Palmer said Aston Martin prefers an Alabama location because it would be close to where Daimler builds Mercedes-Benz SUVs. This makes sense for logistics as many of the electrical systems and engines going into the new SUV may be sourced from the German automaker, although the platform will be Aston Martin’s own design. There’s also an extensive supplier base and transport facilities already established in Alabama.
The new SUV, which will feature coupe-like styling but with a five-door configuration, is one of three new model lines Aston Martin plans to launch by 2020. Another is a large, luxurious sedan and the third, which is yet to be confirmed, may end up being an all-electric model. This trio will be in addition to replacements for the Vantage, DB9, Vanquish and possibly the Rapide, and together they should help Aston Martin reach a sales target of around 15,000 vehicles annually, up from around 4,000 at present.