Aston Martin could build a new factory in the southern US state of Alabama, company boss Andy Palmer has told Autocar.
Any such a facility would be sited ‘close’ to the Mercedes factory at Tuscaloosa, Vance, which builds the M-Class, R-Class and GL-Class SUV models.
Speaking at the Britcar 24 Hour race at Silverstone, in which he is competing, Palmer told Autocar that Aston Martin has ‘had expressions of interest [in the siting of a new factory] from both many states in the US and countries around the world, including the UK.’
‘It is not decided yet but clearly with our arrangement with Daimler it would make sense to look closely at the possible synergies of working close to them in Alabama.’
Although Aston Martin officials have not commented, Autocar understands that the production version of the Aston DBX concept car could well be based on the new Mercedes GLC, which was shown in concept form at the recent Shanghai motor show.
Should the GLC be built at Tuscaloosa, it would make clearly ‘make sense’ to build a new Aston facility close to the factory. Part-complete rolling chassis could be sent from the Mercedes plant to any new Aston facility in order to be completed.
The British brand would probably need access to the sort of suppliers that could produce Aston’s own design of dashboards, interior trim, seat finishings as well as component makers who could press and mould unique aluminium and composite body panels.
Setting up close to Mercedes’ existing operation would not only reduce the transport costs of the rolling chassis, but would also ensure Aston had access to Mercedes’ impressive local supplier base.
Building an Aston crossover in the US would also make sense from the point of view of breaking into the country’s massive crossover and SUV market, which is now close to 50 percent of all new car sales.
Export to Europe and China would also presumably be made relatively easy by piggybacking the existing infrastructure that Mercedes has established for its own SUV exports to those markets.