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Aston Martin confirms its first SUV

By raccars Published

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Aston Martin will be building its forthcoming DBX at a new, purpose built facility in Wales.

An Aston Martin SUV has been the subject of industry rumour since the company introduced the DBX crossover concept at last year's Geneva Motor Show. However last month Aston Martin confirmed that it will be opening a new, purpose built factory in Wales where the DBX will be built by hand. The firm is investing £200 million into the new manufacturing facility, with the expectation that an entry into the profitable SUV arena will help to return it to prosperity.

Aston Martin enters SUV territory

There is a burgeoning super luxury SUV sector at the moment. Previously confined to the Porsche Cayenne, it will shortly include the Bentley Bentayga, the Maserati Levante, the Lamborghini Urus, the Rolls-Royce Mulliner and now the Aston Martin DBX is joining the fray. In all of these cases an SUV goes against the standard format for companies best known for building super luxury saloons and sports cars. However with SUVs now arguably the most important automotive market segment, manufacturers cannot afford to ignore them. All of the manufacturers mentioned have serious plans to increase sales volumes and expect their new SUVs to be a key factor in achieving growth.

DBX concept

The Aston Martin DBX concept introduced in Geneva in 2015 is an all-wheel drive, all electric GT crossover which Aston Martin claims is its first attempt to create something family friendly but also environmentally responsible. The traditional Aston styling is on full display, with a long, sleek front end buttressed by a wide grille and a familiar tail light cluster. As an SUV, the DBX features the requisite elevated ride height while two swooping lines pass atop the side windows into wide, two tone swathes down the back.

The production version is set to be a five door while the parcel shelf features trickle chargers enabling the operation of air con by solar power when the car is basking in the sun's rays. Aston Martin, like many other firms, is relying on a core of zero emissions models to reduce its overall emissions average and offset the environmental damage done by the rest of its output. However the firm has conceded that to be commercially viable the DBX will need to be available with alternative power trains too.

Aston chief exec Dr Andy Palmer is keen to keep his company both relevant and commercially viable in the longer term, admitting that expanding his product portfolio is an essential part of the plan. The core range of luxury sports models will remain limited to a 7,000 unit production run to maintain exclusivity but Aston Martin is planning a complete model range revamp by the end of the decade, along with a trio of brand new models. The firm has also sparked rumours of a revival of its Lagonda sub-brand.

The new Welsh factory

While the firm's sports cars will continue to be manufactured at the firm's Gaydon headquarters in Warwickshire, the DBX will be manufactured in St Athan, Wales. Potentially 1,000 new jobs will be created by the plant, in addition to up to 3,000 positions in the wider supply chain. Aston Martin claims that 20 possible locations for the new facility were analysed before settling upon the 90 acre site in Wales.

The site has been used previously by the Ministry of Defence and some of its existing facilities will be re-purposed by the manufacturer when construction begins next year. Dr Palmer has suggested that in the future Aston Martin would consider using the Welsh facility for the production of further new models alongside the DBX, but would continue to hand build all of its cars.

The first DBXs should be ready for delivery in 2020 and 90 per cent of the output is destined for export.

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