An announcement on where Aston Martin’s new plant will be located will likely be made in the third quarter, according to CEO Andy Palmer. This plant will produce the new DBX crossover. Among the countries being considered are the U.S. and the UK. Palmer mentioned Alabama as a contender but there have been other states that also approached Aston Martin about the project.
At the Automotive News Europe Congress, Palmer said that Aston Martin is a “relatively small company” but he admits that there is clamor from many states and countries for the automaker to choose them. Last month, Palmer practically said that Alabama had the deal as it was the “obvious choice” because of its proximity to Daimler’s factory in Vance that rolls out Mercedes-Benz SUVs.
The automaker has set a goal that by 2019, it will have the launch of its first crossover. This is included in its plans to raise its yearly auto sales to 15,000 from 4,000 units in 2014. He said that he doesn’t have any room for expansion at its plant in Gaydon, central England. This is where Aston Martin makes all of its vehicles.
Palmer added that the company considers this crossover to be the key to its target to be consistently profitable. The automaker had gone bankrupt 7 times in its 100-year existence. He said that he hopes to break the company out of this “cycle of feast and famine” and for it to be “sustainable” by 2021. Aston Martin has been collaborating with Daimler to grow its engine range but Palmer has said previously that the crossover isn’t likely to use a Mercedes platform.
Rather, it may be built with a variant of the new sports car architecture. At the conference, Palmer mentioned that he meets with Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche about once in every quarter. However, he said that Daimler isn’t interested to increase its stake or have any desire to take over the company.
Daimler owns a 5% stake in Aston Martin as part of their agreement for Mercedes to supply high-performance V-8 engines and electronic architectures for Aston Martin’s next generation of sports cars, which may begin trickling out in 2016.
Palmer also said that the company’s finances are in order to facilitate the replacement of its existing range of sports cars as well as produce the four-door Lagonda Taraf and the crossover.
Additional financing will be taken from working capital generated by the rise in sales. Palmer is confident that the company will be able to stay independent through this entire process.