Aston Martin Lagonda has opened a new manufacturing facility at St Athan in Wales. The official opening ceremony of the new plant was attended by eminent dignitaries like the First Minister of Wales, Rt Hon Mark Drakeford AM and Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group CEO, Dr Andy Palmer.
While Gaydon will continue to serve as Aston Martin’s base for production of sports cars, the St Athan factory will produce the marque’s first SUV, the DBX. Once the St. Athan plant commences production at its full capacity by the second quarter of 2020, it would have created about 600 jobs and this can rise to 750 at peak production.
Speaking at the opening of the plant, Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group CEO, Dr Andy Palmer said the day was a pivotal one for Aston Martin and served as a vote of confidence in the UK. He said the St Athan facility marked a critical step in delivery of Aston Martin’s new car, DBX. He concluded by saying that the opening of St Athan was a hugely important milestone in the company’s growth plan and was integral to furthering its objective of positioning itself 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 company had begun recruitment of highly skilled personnel for the plant back when it had acquired the MOD St.Athan site in February 2016 with a recruitment campaign in Cardiff, which attracted over 3,000 applicants. It went on to hire its first 40 employees within six months. The new employees began their careers with the company at its Gaydon headquarters, building DB11s. This group of staff trained at Gaydon is now training new employees at St Athan with the expansion of the workforce grows, as the workforce is prepared for the commencement 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 opted for the 90-acre St Athan as its newest site for establishing a manufacturing facility in the UK. The site was used from 1938 by the RAF for its No.4 School of Technical Training, and this was soon expanded with the arrival of a fighter group pool in 1939. The base served as the home of 14,000 personnel during the Second World War and a training base for both ground and air crew. IN the post-war years, St Athan continued to be used mainly as a training facility and also served as the major RAF maintenance base for aircraft including Vulcan, Phantom, Harrier, Tornado and Hawk. The last aircraft was serviced there in February 2012.
Over a period of three years from 2016, St Athan was transformed from Royal Air Force base to a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. The first phase of construction began in with the creation of the customer and staff reception areas, administration and management offices and the employee restaurant.
Construction of Phase II began in Spring 2017 after the MOD ceremonially handed over the three super-hangars that now accommodate the new manufacturing facility.
The final phase involved installation of state-of-the-art equipment in the converted super-hangars in late 2018, so that pre-production could 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 to form part of Aston Martin’s manufacturing footprint.
Aston Martin DBX
Launched in late November, 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 mark an important milestone for the brand. The DBX is a true Aston Martin as it captures the essence of the brand as a beautiful hand built, yet technologically advanced car. About 90 percent of production is expected to be exported and sold overseas.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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