Aston Martin’s ‘make or break’ SUV finally rolls off Welsh production line

Ason Martin DBX

Aston Martin’s first DBX rolled off the production line of its St Athan factory in South Wales yesterday with the new SUV marking a ‘milestone moment’ for the British luxury marque.

Priced from £158,000, the first Aston to be ‘Made in Wales’ is also its first SUV and considered a make or break model for the British manufacturer, which has recently endured a turbulent financial period, including a £119million loss in the first quarter of 2020.

Expected to be Aston’s biggest seller and designed to be exported around the world – including to markets where all-weather capability is required – first DBX customer deliveries start later this month.

Around 80 per cent of production is expected to be exported with huge demanded expected from foreign markets including the US and China.

The first car off the line comes just over four years since Aston Martin announced its investment in the new manufacturing facility at St Athan.

The British car maker was one of the first to welcome workers back to its assembly line, restarting production of the SUV from 5 May.

Aston Martin said the DBX signals a new era for the firm which has undergone recent financial turmoil and a boardroom bloodbath as new investors took a stake kept the business afloat.

It comes after debt-laden Aston Martin Lagonda has endured months of turmoil and a £536million bail-out by Canadian businessman and new executive chairman Lawrence Stroll.

Stroll, father of F1 driver Lance and part-owner of the Racing Point Formula One Team, is a collector of vintage Ferraris and, according to Forbes, has a net worth of $2.6 billion.

He is tasked with overseeing the firm’s refinancing and restructuring, and has already acquired a replacement for outgoing CEO Andy Palmer in the form of incoming chief executive Tobias Moers, formerly of Mercedes-AMG.

The firm said: ‘DBX it is an important model for Aston Martin and a clear illustration of the strength of British manufacturing capabilities.’

Aston Martin’s interim chief operating officer Keith Stanton, added: ‘I’m extremely proud of the Aston Martin team who have worked so hard to transform this ex-Ministry of Defence site into a world-class car manufacturing facility.

‘It is an honour to see the first DBX come off the line.’

Aston Martin’s executive vice president and chief creative officer Marek Reichman, who was at St Athan to witness the first DBX off the line, commented: ‘We are incredibly proud of our first SUV, which is as much of an Aston Martin as any one of our sports cars.

Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates, said: ‘This is a historic moment for Aston Martin and for Wales. It is also a huge win for the Welsh Government’s can-do attitude.’

‘I could not be more proud to see this fantastic SUV being made in Wales and rolling off the production line. It also speaks volumes for the dedication and skills of the world class work force we have right here in Wales.’

Skates’ comments come a day after he criticised Ineos Automotive and its British billionaire owner, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, for likely pulling the plug on plans to build a new state-of-the-art factory in Bridgend, South Wales, to produce the new Grenadier 4X4.

Ineos is now in talks with Daimler over the purchase of its Hambach plant in France, close to the German border.

Designed with the help of a female panel, the new DBX accelerates from rest to 0-62mph in just 4.5 seconds up to a top speed of 181mph.

The crossover DBX has been designed from the ground-up with input from its ‘Female Advisory Board’ to ensure there is a practical interior space for flexible modern life-styles – including easy to use buttons and a handy slot in the centre for a handbag.