Aston Martin's new factory in St. Athan, Wales, is finally done, which clears the way for the DBX crossover to begin production. Company CEO Andy Palmer and the First Minister of Wales officially opened the facility on December 6.
Gallery: Aston Martin Opens New Factory To Build DBX SUV
DBX production will begin in the second quarter of 2020, and the site will initially employ 600 workers. At full capacity, 750 employees will be at the factory.
"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," Palmer said in the announcement of the factory's completion.
Aston Martin announced the Welsh site for its new factory in 2016. The location was formerly a Royal Air Force base that opened in 1938. A force of 14,000 military personnel was there during World War II. Afterward, the place was for pilot training.
Gallery: 2021 Aston Martin DBX
The DBX will launch Aston Martin into the crossover segment. The initial models will launch with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 making 542 horsepower (404 kilowatts) and 516 pound-feet (700 Newton-meters). A V12 version will possibly come later, though. The drivetrain will consist of a nine-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. For added traction, the system as an active center differential and electrically operated limited-slip rear differential. This setup will get the vehicle to 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) in 4.3 seconds and to a top speed of 181 mph (291 kph).
Like other Aston models, the DBX will combine its performance with a very comfortable cabin. If that won't be enough, the Q by Aston Martin personalization division will be happy to customize the car – for a price.
ASTON MARTIN LAGONDA OPENS MANUFACTURING PLANT IN ST ATHAN, WALES
First Minister of Wales, Rt Hon Mark Drakeford joined Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group CEO, Dr Andy Palmer to officially open new manufacturing facility
Aston Martin St Athan forms the cornerstone of the future of the brand’s ambitions
Up to 750 new jobs to be created at the Welsh site
Recently-launched SUV, the Aston Martin DBX, will be built at St Athan
6 December 2019, St Athan, Wales: Aston Martin Lagonda today opened its new manufacturing facility at St Athan in Wales. First Minister of Wales, Rt Hon Mark Drakeford AM joined Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group CEO, Dr Andy Palmer at a ceremony to officially open the British luxury marque’s new plant.
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. 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.
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.”
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.“
The transformation from MOD St Athan to Aston Martin St Athan
In 2016, Aston Martin Lagonda chose the 90-acre St Athan to be its newest centre of manufacturing excellence in the UK. RAF St Athan officially opened in 1938 as the home of the No.4 School of Technical Training, which was soon expanded with the arrival of a fighter group pool the following year. The base was home to 14,000 personnel during World War II and was used for training both ground and air crew. After the war, St Athan continued primarily as a training facility and also the major RAF maintenance base for aircraft including Vulcan, Phantom, Harrier, Tornado and Hawk. The last aircraft to be serviced there departed the site in February 2012.
Since 2016, St Athan has undergone a three-year transformation from Royal Air Force base to state-of-the-art manufacturing facility.
Phase I of construction began in late 2016 with the creation of the customer and staff reception areas, administration and management offices and the employee restaurant.
Phase II got underway in Spring 2017 after the ceremonial handover of the three super-hangars that now house the new manufacturing facility from the MOD.
The final phase to fit out the now converted super-hangars got underway in late 2018, ready for pre-production to commence in 2019.
The completion of the St Athan facility means that it joins the marque’s Gaydon headquarters and its Wellesbourne and Newport Pagnell facilities as a centre of the highest quality of British craftmanship and engineering.
Aston Martin DBX
Revealed last month, the Aston Martin DBX will go into full production at St Athan in the second quarter of 2020. The British marque’s first SUV has been through an intensive development process, which fittingly began in the forests of Wales to test the mettle of the new, dedicated SUV platform.
The commencement of production of the Aston Martin DBX will be an important moment for the brand. The DBX is a true Aston Martin; it captures the very spirit of the brand as a beautiful hand built, yet technologically advanced car. Around 90% of production is expected to be exported and sold overseas.