Aston Martin promises to make electric models in UK

The billionaire boss of Aston Martin has promised it will build its electric models in the UK from 2025, at a time when the country is struggling to attract the investment required to secure the industry’s future.

Lawrence Stroll, who led a bailout of the business last year, told the Financial Times that a battery sports car and sport utility vehicle will be made at Aston plants in Gaydon in the Midlands and St Athan in Wales, rather than by its partner Mercedes-Benz, which owns 20 per cent of the company.

“The SUV will be built in Wales and the sports cars will be built here [in Gaydon],” he said in an interview at the company’s headquarters.

Aston’s pledge comes as Stellantis, the carmaker formed by the merger of PSA and Fiat Chrysler, is still weighing whether to invest in making electric cars at its Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire, after weeks of talks with the UK government.

The UK is planning to phase out the sale of non-hybrid petrol and diesel cars by 2030 but Stroll said Aston will carry on making traditional engines for enthusiasts well into the next decade.

An Aston Martin DB11 luxury car at the plant in Gaydon, UK © Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

But it also plans to expand its range of hybrid and electric cars over the next four years.

A hybrid version of the DBX, Aston’s first sport utility vehicle, is due later this year, with more types of hybrids from 2023, and its first battery-only models from 2025.

“We are way ahead of our rivals, and all because of our partnership with Mercedes,” Stroll said.

Ferrari has committed to making battery models by 2030, while McLaren and VW-owned Lamborghini have not set timelines. Though Bentley, also owned by VW, is planning a battery car for the middle of the decade.

Aston has yet to decide whether to use the DB moniker on its electric models, Stroll added. “We will have a front engine version of a DB11/Vantage, and an SUV higher four wheel drive one, but we don’t know the names yet,” he said, adding the designs are not yet finalised.

Mercedes, which supplies some of Aston’s engines and technology, may provide batteries, he added. “We’re looking at all options”.

Stroll is hopeful that the 108-year-old brand will help the company remain relevant when it is unable to market cars on their purring engine tones.

Every carmaker will be able to produce electric vehicles he said, but Astons will have “our beautiful body, our suspension, our vehicle dynamics, our bespoke interiors”.

Stroll, who made his fortune moving brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren upmarket, aims to restore the luxury credentials of the company that has struggled financially since an ill-fated IPO in 2018.

An Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team car © Aston Martin

A policy of emptying dealerships of excess stock cost the company millions last year, pushing it to a loss even before the pandemic, but means that the business will in future only make cars that have a buyer lined up, he said.

“By showing a little bit the first signs of scarcity, we’re already seeing results,” he said. “We’re already sold out until September on the sports cars, and until July on the DBX.”

Last week, he unveiled the racing car to be used by the new Aston Martin F1 team, which he believes will further boost the brand.

“80 per cent of people who watch F1 buy a high performance car at various price points,” he said. “And of the 23 countries where there are races, we have dealers in 20.”

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