Maker of James Bond’s ultra luxury sports cars eyes Alabama for major expansion
WARWICKSHIRE, England — British luxury sports car brand Aston Martin is considering building a new factory in Alabama that would likely manufacture the company’s DBX crossover utility vehicle (CUV), which was released as a concept in March of this year.
Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said late last week that building such a facility in Alabama would make sense for two primary reasons.
Number one, locating a factory near the current Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Alabama would provide unique convenience and cost-savings opportunities for Aston Martin’s operation.
Over the last several years, Aston Martin has established and extended its partnership with Daimler AG, the parent company and manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz. Daimler now holds a five percent stake in Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. and supplies the British carmaker with electronic parts and adapts Mercedes-Benz AMG engines to fit Aston Martin vehicles. According to Bloomberg Business, Daimler and Aston Martin have also had lengthy discussions about “using Mercedes technology to develop a sports-utility vehicle that Aston Martin would start selling by 2017.”
Secondly, locating in Alabama would provide Aston Martin with access to the state’s already established automotive supply chain, which would be necessary to crank out the various components of the new cars.
“It is not decided yet, but clearly with our arrangement with Daimler it would make sense to look closely at the possible synergies of working close to them in Alabama,” said Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer.
Palmer added that while locating in Alabama would make a lot of sense, they are being pursued by “many states in the US and countries around the world, including the UK.”
As with any major development project, including the ones Alabama has recently won, like Airbus, Remington and Polaris, the competition will be fierce.
A source with knowledge of Alabama’s economic development efforts told Yellowhammer on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press that the state had been working on a deal to attract Aston Martin, but said it was too early to speculate whether it would be successful.
“The state just really has a lot going for it right now when it comes to the automotive industry,” the source said. “A handful of states can compete with Alabama’s pro-business tax and regulatory climate, but I’m not sure anyone can compete with our existing auto infrastructure. It’s important to remember that when a Mercedes or Honda or Hyundai come in, their suppliers come with them. Already having that in place, especially considering the Aston Martin-Mercedes relationship, gives Alabama a huge head start on the competition.”
Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield declined to comment on whether or not the state had entered into any type of discussions or proposed any incentives to bring Aston Martin to the Yellowhammer State.
“The Commerce Department does not comment with regard to either active or rumored project activity,” he said.
Aston Martin was founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford and rose to international pop culture acclaim when Sean Connery’s James Bond first drove an Aston Martin DB5 in the 1964 hit Goldfinger. Aston Martin cars currently retail for between $120,000 and $200,000.
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— Cliff Sims (@Cliff_Sims) December 3, 2014