Aston Martin to drive £500m UK-Japan investment amid May's charm offensive
Luxury car maker Aston Martin Lagonda has unveiled a massive multi-million pound trade and investment drive in Japan to coincide with the Prime Minister, Theresa May’s three-day visit to the country.
The manufacturer has pledged £500m over the next five years for a range of initiatives which it said would help to grow trade and investment between the UK and Japan and forms part of May’s charm offensive in Tokyo to protect post-Brexit investment levels.
Plans for the investment cash include boosting exports from its Gaydon and St Athan plants to the Japanese market, including new models and its first sports utility vehicle, which Aston Martin claims will be worth over £400m.
The car maker has also pledged to buy more than £70m-worth of components from Japanese suppliers such as Bridgestone and Mitsubishi, and has said it will open a new technology and luxury accelerator and invest in a new Japanese HQ in Tokyo.
Aston Martin president and chief executive, Dr Andy Palmer, said: “As the world’s second largest luxury car market, Japan is key to our future plans as we completely revitalise and expand our product portfolio under our Second Century plan.
“We have long enjoyed a loyal following from Japanese customers and the public alike, with our new dealership in Tokyo set to become our largest worldwide by volume.”
The announcement has been seized on by Theresa May as a prime example of the UK building on some of its pre-existing arrangements to ensure trade and investment continues to grow after Brexit.
Coinciding with the announcement, she commented: “As we prepare to leave the European Union, it is vital that we build on our existing ties with friends and allies.
“Aston Martin is a prime example of the innovative and world leading firms the UK is proud of and I’m delighted they are joining me on this important trade mission.
“Aston Martin’s £500m deal will directly benefit the Gaydon plant in West Midlands and the St Athan plant in Wales helping safeguard existing jobs and opening new possibilities for future deals with Japan.”