Last month, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said that building a plant in Alabama “would make sense.” But now he just doubled down, telling the Automotive News that Heart of Dixie would actually be an “obvious choice.” Hold onto your hats, because one of these days we’re going to see an Alabama Aston.
(In all fairness, Palmer said he hasn’t made a decision yet, but what do you think is going to happen? Dude’s getting into Jeb Bush territory of non-decision making.)
And in more fairness to Mr. Palmer, he’s right. Building a plant in Alabama is an obvious choice for Aston, in the business sense, even if it might seem completely anathema to its past and will make traditional Aston purists furiously pop their monocles out in disgust. Small, independent companies can’t really survive and thrive in today’s automotive world, and Aston Martin is about as small and independent as they come.
To ensure they see the next couple of decades, the company is going to have to scale up, both in numbers and in the sheer size of their cars, which means they’ve raised more than $300 million to build the DBX crossover. And the DBX crossover will have a whole bunch of Mercedes-Benz components, likely limited to the engine, but with the slight (only very slight, however) possibility of a shared platform.
But if you’re going to be sharing components, it helps to have your factory right smack next to the factory where the components come from. And the components will be made in the Mercedes factory near Vance, Alabama, which also happens to make a whole bunch of other Mercedes SUV parts.
The rest of the car, however, would still come the Aston factory in Gaydon, and be assembled in Alabama:
A U.S. plant would likely build the DBX from kits using parts made at Gaydon, Palmer said. “It’s not impossible to imagine it acting as a hub and a spoke to our craftsmen in Gaydon,” he said. “One of the mental challenges we need to go through right now is how do you create British craftsmanship and reproduce it somewhere else.”
Don’t shed a tear for Britain, however. Aston will still make cars there, at least for the foreseeable future. And let’s be honest, an Alabama Aston sounds kind of awesome.
Photo credit: Lee Crowley