The production version of Aston Martin’s DBX concept could be built at a new factory in Wales.
Although Aston Martin has stressed that no decisions have been made as to where the DBX will be built, Wales Online is reporting that Prime Minister David Cameron will today visit the proposed factory site in St Athan, close to Cardiff Airport, to say there is “real potential” for the firm to build its SUV there. The site is currently owned by the Ministry of Defence.
Cameron is reported to be preparing to say: “Here in Wales I think there is real potential to vacate Ministry of Defence land at St Athan, and we’re willing to make that available as part of efforts to persuade Aston Martin Lagonda to manufacture their new prestige SUV in the UK.”
When contacted by Autocar, an Aston Martin spokesman said: “No decision has been taken on a location for a new manufacturing plant; we are considering a wide variety of domestic and international options."
Aston Martin is reported to have held talks with the UK government and funding bodies, including Finance Wales, in April in order to ascertain if grants were available to build a new factory in the region.
While some of the funding for the new site will come from grants, the majority is being paid for by an extra £200 million of investment secured by Aston Martin earlier this year. Announcing the plan, Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer said: “This additional long-term funding will enable us to add extra model lines and broaden our presence in the luxury market segment by the end of the decade.”
It’s known that Aston Martin wants to grow its annual sports car output to around 7000 vehicles per year in the medium term. It sold around 4000 cars in 2014, and is expecting a similar figure for this year. Palmer has already revealed he doesn’t want to return to the “feast-to-famine” cycle of previous years, where production has ebbed and flowed according to market demand.
Other sites under consideration for the new factory are reported to include locations in Bridgend and Birmingham in the UK, as well as a location in Alabama in the USA, where partner Mercedes builds large SUVs including the Mercedes GL.
The all-wheel-drive, all-electric DBX was a surprise unveiling at this year’s Geneva motor show and showed Aston Martin’s intentions to broaden its customer base by delivering new types of vehicles. Adding the DBX and Lagonda saloon - already confirmed as coming to the UK - to its core offering of sports car models will allow Aston Martin to grow its sales volumes and appeal to new customers.