Aston Martin may make more than sports cars these days, but sports cars are all that are built at its own facility. The Cygnet city car is built by Toyota (though trimmed out by Aston's own) and the Rapide is built by Magna Steyr on a dedicated assembly line. But that last bit is about to change as the four-door coupe shifts its production to the company's own assembly plant at Gaydon in Warwickshire, England.
The move will take effect in the second half of next year, and follows an expansion of the Gaydon facility, which itself followed the shift there from the historic compound at Newport Pagnell. Aston Martin went to lengths to stress that the shift comes about as a result of its own increasing capabilities, and not because of any failure on Steyr's part. But whatever the reasoning, the news can't be good for the Austrian supplier. Official announcement after the jump.
Gaydon, 7 June, 2011 - Aston Martin today confirms that production of the four-door sports car; Rapide will move to the company's Gaydon headquarters in Warwickshire, UK in the second half of 2012.
In 2008, due to constraints at Gaydon and after conclusion of a six-month feasibility study, Aston Martin appointed Magna Steyr as a partner to produce the car at its facilities in Austria. A dedicated facility – AMRP - at Magna Steyr's facilities was then established with pre-production of the Rapide starting in Q4 2009 before the car reached full production in 2010. Since then Aston Martin and Magna Steyr have enjoyed a very positive working relationship with production of the Rapide reaching benchmark quality standards and the car proving a strong success with customers and critics alike.
Aston Martin Chief Executive, Dr Ulrich Bez said: "In 2008 we had facility restrictions at Gaydon which indicated that production of Rapide at Gaydon would likely compromise production of our other cars. We were not prepared to do this.
"Now, three years on things are very different – Gaydon is more established, more flexible and more efficient. While our overall volume has not changed significantly, we now produce a far richer model mix – eight model lines (plus five variants) compared to three model lines (plus two variants) in 2008 – so Rapide production is now possible.
"I would like to place on record our gratitude to Magna Steyr and their team of dedicated employees who have become part of the Aston Martin family in the last few years and met all our requirements and expectations."
Work on readying Aston Martin's Gaydon headquarters for Rapide will begin immediately with a view to production commencing in the second half of 2012.