30 Mar Wales in the manufacturing driver’s seat
While the brand Aston Martin conjures vivid imagery of suave English automation, thanks in no small part to James Bond, it has taken a far more Timothy Dalton turn in recent weeks. On February 24th of this year, Aston Martin announced that it will be building its new luxury car, the DBX, in glamorous Glamorgan; creating in the process no less than 750 highly skilled jobs.
Hailed as a “momentous day for Wales” by the Aston Martin Chief Exec Andy Palmer, it seems he could not be more accurate in his proclamation. As, shortly after this announcement, rumours began to fly that privately owned TVR is set to join the high-end, extravagant vehicle manufacturing party in Wales. If this does in fact transpire, then the mark of intent from Wales in the manufacturing arena will be impossible to ignore.
As fantastic as this for Welsh manufacturing, English representatives’ heads have been turned; Council leader of Staffordshire, the UK home of Aston Martin, Chris Saint has vowed to do all he can to ensure the future of car manufacturing in the district. The Welsh quality, attitude and cost was unmatched by the Staffordshire base, and thus has resulted in a major coup for Wales as a nation.
The idea of ‘attitude’ is an interesting one, and is backed by a recent survey of the manufacturing industry in the UK. The results showed that 50% of UK manufacturers believed there to be more risks than opportunity ahead, with only 25% believing the opposite. This is in stark contrast to the Welsh outlook, as a case study of a number of technology companies and manufacturers highlights. They have gone on record to say there is simply no better time to grow and make your mark in the industry, which seems to support the idea that ‘attitude’ may have indeed played a significant role in the decision to build the new Aston Martin DBX in Glamorgan.
If this wasn’t enough historic manufacturing news for one day, the Welsh factory where the British Army’s new armoured fighting vehicles (AFV) will be made was officially opened on 7th March. This amounts to a £3.5 billion Ministry of Defence contract to supply 589 vehicles, employing over 250 skilled manufacturers.
From James Bond to G.I Joe, it looks as though Wales is steadily positioning itself as a manufacturing giant for years to come.