Aston Martin has commenced production at its brand-new St Athan facility in South Wales, where prototype versions of the upcoming DBX are being made ahead of the SUV's introduction in 2020. Company boss Andy Palmer said Aston's second factory, comprised of three former RAF 'super hangers', had been completed "on time and on budget" - which ought to make anyone toiling on TVR's nearby Ebbw Vale site red with jealousy.
Aston has been working on its new facility since 2016, in which time 200 jobs have been created. St Athan's role as Aston's DBX producer, as well as its responsibility to lead the development of EV tech and build all future Lagonda models, means a further 500 jobs are expected to be created directly, with an additional 3,000 spawned across the wider supply chain that will include local businesses in South Wales.
With its production line (sort of) operational, development of the DBX - Aston's first SUV - has moved from Wales to the Arctic Circle and Nurburgring. Aston claims the car will be as capable off road as it is on and is expected to be revealed before the end of 2019 with an AMG 4.0-litre V8 offering in the region of 500hp, and with the majority of power going rearwards to ensure Aston-like dynamics.
It's no coincidence that St Athan is to produce the DBX and also lead Aston's electrification charge. The SUV will eventually grow a hybrid variant while the Lagonda All-Terrain SUV produced alongside it from 2021 is set to be all-electric only, leaving Gaydon to focus on the sportier stuff, like the new Vanquish, 003 and, of course, Valkyrie. Lots going on then - and at the ideal time for the industry, too.