Aston Martin production of their luxury £154,000 DBX SUV started today in Wales.
The big four-door model was announced for St Athan, some 20 miles west of Cardiff, in 2016 and over the last four years the company has been converting three massive superhangers into the company’s latest production centre at the former RAF base.
It has gradually taken on over 600 employees to make the bespoke models at a rate of up to 4,0000 cars annually and eventually is planning to have 750 jobs when additional models are added as part of the multi-million-pound investment by the car maker.
Today, Keith Stanton, AM’s acting chief operating officer, drove the first completed car off the production line which snakes through the hangers in a three weeks’ assembly journey to applause from the inspection team.
He said, “It is a real privilege to be here today to witness the completion of the first production Aston Martin DBX. I’m extremely proud of the Aston Martin team who have worked so hard to transform this ex-Ministry of Defence site into a world-class car manufacturing facility, to now be producing cars, it is testament to the resilience and fortitude of everyone at Aston Martin.”
Hosting the event was Marek Reichman, AM executive vice president and head of design, who said the DBX “is a critically important landmark for Aston Martin as we expand into the SUV sector.”
He said that it is a new model for the famous luxury sports cars brand with its headquarters at Gaydon, is an immensely practical SUV with the soul of the sports cars and “is tremendously exciting for us”.
He went on, “From my design team to the engineers, the vehicle dynamics team and all the experts who hand-craft this beautiful car, here at St Athan, the DBX has become the car that will drive Aston Martin into a bold new era.”
The first model off the line is destined for a German enthusiast but the flexible building technique means successive models can be signed off in any order once validated, engine tested and subjected to a high pressure water test before inspection.
Exhaustive testing has been done on 150 engineering prototypes around the world in very hot and cold climates, extremely dusty and also very dry conditions as well as off-road in forest stages used by Wales Rally GB competitors.
In the week that Ineos Automotive said it was suspending plans to build its global 4×4 Grenadier in Bridgend and to the annoyance of Welsh Government who had poured millions into the project, the successful completion of the first Aston Martin DBX was not witnessed by a Welsh Government Minister, only the local Conservative MP Alun Cairns.
After the AM DBX drive off, Wales Minister for Economy Ken Skates, said in a short statement that it was an historic moment which spoke volumes for the skills of its Welsh workforce.