Aston Martin will finally jump on the SUV bandwagon with an all-new model, due late 2019. The British carmaker confirmed on Wednesday that it will ride on a specifically-developed platform for a high riding vehicle and feature light electrification.
In an announcement that discussed ongoing work at the new St Athan, Wales production facility, Aston Martin said the new SUV will be unveiled in the fourth quarter of 2019. St Athan will be a completely new production facility charged with producing the SUV and future electric-car assembly which includes the Rapide E.
The company hasn’t yet christened the SUV, but it has reused the “DBX” nameplate since the concept SUV debuted in 2015 at the Geneva Motor Show. The brand has trademarked the Varekai name which it could use for the upcoming new SUV. The name would also fit with the company’s nomenclature that features model names beginning with the letter “V”, except for the DB series.
The SUV will use an all-new platform developed specifically for a high-riding vehicle. Aston Martin will focus on suspension technology to address the SUV’s mass and size. Chief engineer Matt Becker told Road & Track magazine in July that the SUV will employ an active anti-roll system and triple-volume air springs, but he didn’t divulge further details on the new platform.
Aston Martin had first imagined the luxury SUV as a battery-electric vehicle, but is now rethinking its approach. Company CEO Andy Palmer confirmed that the company dropped the plans for an electric powertrain this past April. A hybrid model is likely to be produced, but don’t expect a plug-in hybrid. Palmer disliked the idea of a “stepping stone” and in its place will focus on light electrification before fully embracing all-electric powertrains.
The St Athan facility will open its doors early next year to commence production of prototype vehicles. The factory’s workforce will also expand from 100 employees to more than 700 when production of the SUV ramps up by 2020.