Aston Martin has confirmed that its upcoming luxury SUV will begin production in 2019. In order to meet the demand it predicts for a luxury performance crossover, Aston is preparing a new manufacturing facility in South Wales that will handle the production of its latest model.
The St Athan plant, which is located in an old Ministry of Defense Royal Air Force training site, is now in its final phase of construction. The last stage of preparation involves the conversion of three of the base's massive hangars into assembly lines. St Athan joins two other locations in the United Kingdom dedicated to producing Aston Martin's lineup: Aston's headquarters in Gaydon and Newport Pagnell, both in England.
“We are delighted at the progress being made at the St Athan site," said Andy Palmer, President and CEO of Aston Martin. "The team have done a fantastic job in advancing the facility and I was incredibly proud to chair our first Board meeting at the new plant. Wales has a long history of engineering excellence and the Board is delighted that it will play such an important part in Aston Martin’s development.”
Aston has already hired 150 workers for the new facility and says that there are 750 spots in total up for grabs that will help stimulate the job market in South Wales.
“I am delighted to see our partnership with Aston Martin, right in the heart of our Cardiff Airport and St Athan Enterprise Zone, coming to fruition," said Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport. “Progress to date continues to match the company’s aspiration for future growth and, when complete, the site will provide highly-skilled employment and world-class apprenticeship opportunities in the automotive sector for many generations to come."
The luxury SUV, reportedly called the Varekai, is one of two models that will initially make up Aston's revitalized Lagonda branch. Aston Martin Lagonda will put technology first and luxury second, beginning by making all of its standalone models electric. While the Varekai's production will start next year, the Lagonda brand isn't due to relaunch until 2021.