Aston Martin's 2020 DBX enters pre-production phase

The factory it's built in was once an airforce base.

Aston Martin's new factory in St. Athan, Wales, has started pre-production of the DBX, the firm's first utility vehicle. While this is a routine milestone in the life of a new model, getting to this point was easier said than done for the British firm.

Announced in 2016, the St. Athan factory is built on a former Ministry of Defense site that closed in 2012. If you visit it today, you'll see -- as the company's photos show -- an ultra-modern factory where humans and machines work hand-in-hand to manufacture pre-production units of the DBX. If you visited it in 2015, however, you would have stood on an abandoned airfield once used by the Royal Air Force as a maintenance base for several types of aircrafts.

Aston's decision to manufacture the DBX solely in Wales has already boosted the local economy. So far, the factory has created 200 jobs, and the company expects to recruit 550 additional employees. 3,000 more jobs will be created across the supply chain and local businesses. The facility is proof of Aston's commitment to invest in the United Kingdom rather than send production abroad, or outsource it entirely.

The DBX will make its official debut during the last quarter of 2019, and we expect it will carry a base price in the vicinity of $200,000. When it arrives in showrooms, it will compete in the same segment as the Bentley Bentayga, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, and the Lamborghini Urus. Fully-loaded examples might venture into Rolls-Royce Cullinan territory.

Aston also designated its St. Athan facility as its home of electrification. While the DBX will be the only model built there when production starts, it will be joined by electrified, Lagonda-badged luxury models during the early 2020s. These yet-unnamed vehicles will be aimed directly at Rolls-Royce, so they will put less of an emphasis on all-out performance than, say, the DB11. Aston Martin previewed two of them with a pair of futuristic concepts shown in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

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