The new Aston Martin DBX SUV
Aston Martin Lagonda this morning opened its new £250M manufacturing facility at St Athan.
The new Aston Martin DBX SUV will be a pivotal model for the company and firmly put Wales on the map for motor manufacturing, some 260 guests were told today at the official opening of the luxury brand’s new factory at St Athan, near Cardiff.
Aston Martin at Bro Tathan
First Minister of Wales, Rt Hon Mark Drakeford AM joined Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group CEO, Dr Andy Palmer at a ceremony after three-years of intense development and conversion from RAF Superhangers into one of the world’s most modern luxury car plants.
Addressing an audience from around the world at the new plant, AML president and CEO Andy Palmer said it represents a big step by the company into a market sector it has never sold into but the DBX brings with it the company’s traditional expectations of luxury and performance.
Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group CEO, Dr Andy Palmer said: “Opening our new manufacturing facility at St Athan today is a pivotal day for Aston Martin and a vote of confidence in the UK, with the facility projected to employ up to 750 highly-skilled workers at its peak. St Athan is a critical step in delivering our new car, DBX, which will be built in the new facility. The opening of St Athan is a hugely important milestone in the company’s growth plan and integral to our ambitions as a global luxury brand with a presence in all major sectors of the market.”
“DBX will be pivotal to our Second Century Plan,” he added. That is to deliver a new range of cars which challenge engineering and design and exceed customers’ expectations.
By the second quarter of 2020, the converted former RAF hangars will be employing 600 people and gradually ramp up to 750, building some 4,000 cars annually with 80% exported from the £250M new investment, supported by Welsh Government funding and advice.
He praised the local community for embracing the company and making it welcome in an area not usually associated with motor manufacturing and Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford, who applied an Aston Martin winged badge to the bonnet of a pre-production model to signify the opening, said it was the latest of 150 companies employing 18,000 people in the Welsh Automotive sector generating £3Billion of income.
The First Minister said it showed Wales has a ‘can-do’ attitude and welcomes any world-wide business and would support investment with training, financial support and advice backed up by a strong and varied components sector championed by the Welsh Automotive Forum.
He concluded by saying that Wales wants to be in the forefront the latest automotive technology and mobility and was encouraged by the decision to make St Athan the centre of Aston Martin Lagonda’s electrification programme for the coming decades.
AML president and eco Dr Andy Palmer explains a production process to Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford.
While Gaydon continues to be the home of the company’s sports car production, St Athan is the home of Aston Martin’s first SUV, the DBX.
Aston Martin DBX
Upon the commencement of full production at St Athan in the second quarter of 2020, the company will have created up to 600 new highly-skilled jobs, rising to 750 at peak production and 4,000 cars annually.
These aren’t just a line of vehicles to be left under branded Aston Martin car covers, these are SUVs made with performance and durability in mind.
Aston Martin Lagonda engine
First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford said: “Today is a proud moment for Aston Martin, the Welsh Government and for Wales.
“Locating this world class and globally recognised brand in St Athan is a huge vote of confidence in the Welsh workforce. It is an example of the Welsh Government’s support and can-do attitude driving economic growth and creating jobs.
“I look forward to the first made-in-Wales Aston Martins rolling off the production line next year.”
The search for the best personnel began as soon as the purchase of Ministry of Defence (MOD) St Athan was announced in February 2016. Aston Martin launched a recruitment campaign in Cardiff, which attracted over 3,000 applicants, and within six months the first 40 employees had been hired. Creating world-class cars requires highly-skilled personnel so the new Welsh workforce began their careers with Aston Martin at its Gaydon headquarters, building DB11s. This core group of experts are now training new employees at St Athan as the workforce grows, ready for the start of DBX production in the second quarter of 2020.
Palmer added: “Everyone involved in the creation of our new St Athan facility should feel proud today. It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point. Our core business of producing beautiful, hand-crafted cars in England is now extended to Wales, which is extremely pertinent to us as a great British company.“