Aston Martin is one of the most beloved British automobile brands but it has had a turbulent history, suffering through periods of feast and famine. In 2012 the company had losses of £36 million. The following year this figure was down to £25 million, but this is still a huge loss to bear. Their new chief executive Andy Palmer was appointed in October with the challenge of turning the fortunes of the company around in the next six years. He has considerable financial support at his disposal and has ambitious plans to secure Aston Martin financially for the next 100 years.
To achieve the goal, plans are in place to launch several new vehicles including a luxury SUV called the DBX. The company is currently looking at ten sites around the world to build plants to produce this and other vehicles. A plant is expected to be built in the US, particularly because Daimler (who owns 5% of Aston) has a facility to build SUVs there. Eastern Europe is also receiving a lot of attention with Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary all being looked at. Trade bodies in the UK are worrying that it could potentially take jobs away from the UK if an Eastern European destination is chosen.
To combat the threat, David Cameron is encouraging the release of a hangar in St. Athan, Wales. The former WWII base has been unused for several years and the Welsh Government has been encouraging its release for development. The Prime Minister has now stepped in to give his support to the plan to try to encourage Aston Martin to expand their operations in the UK, which will lead to the cration of new motor industry jobs rather than risking taking them away.
Aston Martin is due to present options about new sites to its board in October. This means there is time for the site in Wales to be made available to make the UK a more attractive prospect for the investment rather than seeing it go overseas. It will be very interesting to see if the Prime Minister’s intervention helps to speed up the release of the land and encourage the automobile maker to stick with the UK rather than going overseas.