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Aston Martin considering a new plant near Mercedes-Benz

A British automotive publication reported Friday that Aston Martin, the British luxury car maker, might build a new factory near the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance.

The publication, Autocar, quoted Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer as saying: “It is not decided yet, but clearly, with our arrangement with Daimler, it would make sense to look closely at the possible synergies of working close to them in Alabama.”

He said if the plant is built, it will be close to Mercedes' Vance factory, which makes SUVs and sedans.

Autocar said Aston Martin likely would produce a version of the Aston DBX concept car, which could be based on the new Mercedes GLC, being made at Mercedes-Benz U.S. International in Vance.

Autocar said the plant, if built, would receive partly completed rolling chassis from MBUSI. It said setting up close to Mercedes would reduce the costs of transporting the rolling chassis and would allow Aston Martin to tap into the existing automotive suppliers in the Tuscaloosa area.

Autocar said the move would also allow Aston Martin to have access to the U.S. market, which is now the biggest market for crossover vehicles and SUVs.

The vehicles could be easily exported to Europe and China “by piggybacking the existing infrastructure that Mercedes has established for its own SUV exports to those markets.”

Aston Martin makes some of the most expensive vehicles in the world. Its vehicles are perhaps best known in popular culture as the sporty, high-powered cars driven by James Bond in the 007 movies.

Daimler AG, the German parent company of Mercedes-Benz, already owns 5 percent of Aston Martin. There was speculation a couple of years ago that Daimler would acquire the British automaker, but Daimler head Dieter Zetsche quashed the rumors. Zetsche said Aston Martin's limited production — then well under 10,000 vehicles yearly — did not fit in with Mercedes, which makes more than 1 million vehicles annually.

The two companies, however, signed a technical partnership in 2013 with Mercedes agreeing to supply Aston Martin with components such as electrical systems.

Mercedes also agreed to support Aston Martin's new generation of models that will incorporate new technology and V8s, according to reports on the technical partnership.

Source: tuscaloosanews.com

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