British sports car manufacturer Aston Martin has completed the first phase of the new factory it is building in south Wales.
Work began in late 2016 to convert three ‘super hangars’ at the former RAF St Athan, close to Cardiff, into a production facility for Aston Martin’s new SUV, the DBX.
Now the first phase, which has seen the creation of the customer and staff reception areas, administration and management offices and the employee restaurant, is finished.
The major conversion on the 90-acre site – significantly larger than Aston Martin’s existing plant at Gaydon in the Midlands – started in April 2017. Under phase two, the three enormous hangars are being redeveloped into the new manufacturing facility ahead of production of the SUV, which is planned to start in 2019.
Doubling the company
Production numbers of the DBX are predicted at between 4,000 and 5,000 a year which will effectively double the brand’s annual output and make the car one of the most significant introductions in Aston Martin’s history. The St Athan facility will have an annual production capacity of 7,000 and other models are known to be under consideration for the site, possibly including a revival of the Lagonda badge.
Aston Martin chose St Athan for its third plant after viewing and analysing 20 potential global locations. The Gaydon headquarters will remain as the home of the brand’s sports cars, while its historic home of Newport Pagnell has returned to manufacture with the track-only DB4 GT Continuation,
The brand’s arrival at St Athan is creating up to 750 new jobs – a series of recruitment events in the region resulted in more than 3,000 applications.
According to Aston Martin president and CEO Andy Palmer, the St Athan facility is really starting to take shape. “With the completion of this first phase, it is another milestone on our journey in Wales, and an important part of Aston Martin’s Second Century Plan – work is also well underway on phase II, the rest of the Aston Martin team and I are excited for when St Athan joins our Gaydon and Newport Pagnell facilities as a centre of hand-crafted manufacturing excellence,” Palmer said.