After scouring the world for the ideal spot to build a new SUV loosely based on 2015’s DBX concept, Aston Martin has finally confirmed the vehicle will be built at a new plant to be located in St Athan at the southern tip of Wales. Aston Martin had hinted at plant locations in China and even the United States but by picking Wales it means the automaker’s cars can remain quintessentially British, a trait many of its current buyers cherish.
“During our 103-year history, Aston Martin has become famous for making beautiful hand-crafted cars in England,” CEO Andy Palmer said in a statement. “Through a detailed evaluation of over 20 potential global locations for this new manufacturing facility, we were consistently impressed with the focus on quality, cost and speed from the Welsh Government team.”
The plant will be located on a site currently occupied by the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence and should be up and running before the decade is out. It’s part of a £200 million (approximately $279 million) investment that will also see Aston Martin’s existing facility in Gaydon, England upgraded to support production of the automaker’s next-generation sports car fleet. Gaydon has also been chosen for the site of production of an electric version of the Rapide sedan due in 2018.
It is anticipated that up to 1,000 new jobs will be created across St Athan and Gaydon between now and 2020. And Aston Martin predicts that across the supply chain and local businesses a further 3,000 jobs may end up being created.
While the new SUV is some years off still, the first of Aston Martin’s all-new models, the DB11, will enter production in the fall of this year, following a debut at next week’s 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Replacements for the Vantage and Vanquish are expected to follow in quick succession and may be joined by an additional performance offering. The goal is to sell around 7,000 sports cars per year, up from around half that figure at present.
With the new SUV and also a luxury sedan likely to be called a Lagonda, Aston Martin will be hoping to achieve around 15,000 sales annually. The Lagonda is the last model in Aston Martin’s turnaround plan, known as the Second Century Plan, and is likely to join the DBX at the new plant in Wales.