“A SEC­OND PRO­DUC­TION FA­CIL­ITY AT ST ATHANS IN WALES WILL OPEN SOON”

Unique Cars - - ASTON MARTIN – FACTORY TOUR -

A part­ner­ship of au­toma­tion and hu­man in­put in­stalls the driv­e­line, sus­pen­sion, brakes, elec­tron­ics, wiring looms, in­te­rior, glass, with rig­or­ous in­spec­tions and mi­cro­scopic qual­ity checks con­ducted through­out the process.

Ev­ery sev­enth car is sub­jected to in­spec­tion through the CCM ma­chine, where nodes and probes dart all over it to make sure it is within strict and tight tol­er­ances.

Be­fore its fi­nal sign off by an in­spec­tor and the al­most cer­e­mo­nial plac­ing of the As­ton Martin moniker on the front – made by Vaughtons, a Birm­ing­ham jew­eller us­ing a com­plex 21-stage process – ev­ery car is sub­jected to a rolling road test which repli­cates any­thing that can be done on the road, in an en­vi­ron­ment where the cars don’t risk stone chips or other dam­age. And it’s done in a way that can be reg­u­lated and con­trolled.

Pro­duc­tion at the Gay­don fac­tory, where all mod­els are built, is capped at 7000 units an­nu­ally to main­tain the ex­clu­siv­ity of the brand, which is why it took un­til 2009 to sell its 50,000th ve­hi­cle af­ter start­ing way back in 1913.

A sec­ond pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity at St Athans in Wales will open soon where the DBX SUV will be pro­duced.

Although it sits on an old RAF Air­force base – they re­cently named one model the Vul­can, af­ter the bomber air­craft – there is no test track at Gay­don. As­ton uses test fa­cil­i­ties through­out Europe and the UK to de­velop each model and as with its man­u­fac­tur­ing, the process is rig­or­ous, costly and time con­sum­ing. As­ton wouldn’t have it any other way.

Just as our tour ended, the lunch bell sounded and in an or­derly man­ner the staff downed their tools, turned off the sewing machines, shut down the trol­leys and fork­lifts and the fac­tory fell si­lent. Even the ro­bots took a well-earned break.

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