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.
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.
“DBX will be pivotal to our Second Century Plan,” he said. 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 more than 50 years after the last car was built in Wales it now 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.