Aston Martin is setting up its new SUV and electric car plant in Wales with a production line running at twice the speed of its Gaydon HQ factory, as it searches for greater manufacturing efficiency.
Workers at the new St Athan plant will have half the time to fit components compared with those at Gaydon, where the Vantage, Rapide, DB11 and DBS Superleggera are built. The assembly stations at St Athan are planned around a 20-minute ‘Takt’ time – the industry standard for organising production lines – compared with Gaydon’s 39 minutes.
“St Athan will be more efficient because it’s a new plant being set up with the benefit of 15 years of experience of operations at Gaydon," said Aston Martin.
The Welsh plant will make 7000 cars per year, the same number as Gaydon but on one instead of two lines. St Athan consists of three converted RAF hangars – the first a body-in-white plant, the second a paint shop and the third a final assembly hall.
The factory will launch pilot production of the new DBX SUV next spring, with a series of models known internally as PT2 (for Production Trial 2). Spearheading the electric push at Aston Martin, the Rapide E will also be produced at the site in 2019, when doors officially open. In 2021, the Lagonda luxury brand's first car will enter production, as part of an all-EV line-up of Rolls-Royce rivals.