Aston Martin Lagonda this morning opened its new £250M manufacturing facility at St Athan.
First Minister of Wales, Rt Hon Mark Drakeford AM joined Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group CEO, Dr Andy Palmer at a ceremony after three-years of intense development and conversion from RAF Superhangers into one of the world’s most modern luxury car plants.
While Gaydon continues to be the home of the company’s sports car production, St Athan is the home of Aston Martin’s first SUV, the DBX. Upon the commencement of full production at St Athan in the second quarter of 2020, the company will have created up to 600 new highly-skilled jobs, rising to 750 at peak production and 4,000 cars annually.
Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group CEO, Dr Andy Palmer said: “Opening our new manufacturing facility at St Athan today is a pivotal day for Aston Martin and a vote of confidence in the UK, with the facility projected to employ up to 750 highly-skilled workers at its peak. St Athan is a critical step in delivering our new car, DBX, which will be built in the new facility. The opening of St Athan is a hugely important milestone in the company’s growth plan and integral to our ambitions 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.
The search for the best personnel began as soon as the purchase of Ministry of Defence (MOD) St Athan was announced in February 2016. Aston Martin launched a recruitment campaign in Cardiff, which attracted over 3,000 applicants, and within six months the first 40 employees had been hired. Creating world-class cars requires highly-skilled personnel so the new Welsh workforce began their careers with Aston Martin at its Gaydon headquarters, building DB11s. This core group of experts are now training new employees at St Athan as the workforce grows, ready for the start 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.“
Last night, Dr Palmer was the keynote speaker at the annual Welsh Automotive Forum networking dinner following an automotive summit meeting organised by the Welsh Government and he praised all who had worked to get Aston Martin to move into Wales for their new DBX assembly.
“St Athan was actually the first place we looked at when considering the location for DBX production,” said Dr Palmer. “From that moment on the Welsh Government and Welsh Automotive Forum kept onto us and promoting the site and Wales and they could not have been more helpful.”
He added, “When we started looking for 750 employees we had over 3,000 applicants turn up for the positions and the team we have taken on has shown itself to be willing and eager to embrace Aston Martin”
With the DBX, Aston Martin says it has pushed the boundaries of British design and engineering talent and he concluded by saying that Wales had embraced the company and all it stands for and made it very welcome.
Welsh Automotive Forum chairman Prof Richard Parry-Jones added that the automotive sector in Wales was seeing a new era developing with the arrival of Aston Martin, the Ineos Grenadier 4×4 factory outside Bridgend and TVR near Ebbw Vale.
Economy Minister Ken Skates paid tribute to the incoming manufacturers and said Welsh Government would tirelessly work to secure new investment and grow businesses already in Wales, adding, “We want to prove your future can be here in Wales creating employment, opportunities and being successful.”