- New crossover to be produced from 2020 at former RAF base
- Three super-hangars to be converted for car production
Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. will build its new sport utility vehicle at a former Royal Air Force base in Wales, adding a second production facility as the privately held British sports-car maker pushes for growth.
The investment in a 90-acre site in St Athan in southern Wales is part of Aston Martin’s plans to spend 200 million pounds ($279 million) on new products and facilities in the coming years. Three so-called super-hangars will be converted for automobile assembly. Construction work is due to start in 2017, with vehicle production beginning in 2020, the Gaydon, England-based company said in a statement.
To safeguard its independence, Aston Martin is seeking to more than double annual sales to above a former peak of about 7,500 vehicles from 3,500 last year. The British marque plans to roll out a new model or variant every eight to nine months. The company’s decision to invest in the U.K. rather than some 20 other locations evaluated is a boost to Prime Minister David Cameron’s efforts to add manufacturing jobs and keep the country in the European Union.
“Aston Martin is an iconic British brand, and the decision to invest here shows real confidence in our economy,” Cameron said in the statement. “With our economic strengths and easy access to European markets, the U.K. automotive sector is thriving.”
Aston Martin plans to create a total of nearly 1,000 jobs at St Athan and its existing plant in Gaydon, which is being expanded to produce the RapidE electric car in 2018. The Gaydon site will also start production of the DB11. The successor of the brand’s flagship DB9 sports car will be the first car rolled out under the company’s Second Century plan, which entails the overhaul and expansion of its lineup over the next five years.
Last profitable in 2010, the company has set a goal of reporting an annual profit by 2018. Aston Martin is owned by investors including Kuwait’s Investment Dar Co.