Aston Martin Rapide production to move to UK

The first ever Aston Martin manufactured outside Great Britain will be produced at the carmaker’s headquarter facility from next year, it has emerged.The British company announced yesterday (Tues) it decided not to continue the cooperation with Austrian-Canadian company Magna International (Magna). The firm – which was founded by Austrian businessman Frank Stronach in the 1950s – started producing the 477-horsepower Aston Martin Rapide at a factory operated by Magna Steyr in Graz, Styria, in 2009.Aston Martin explained it was convinced being able to build the sports car “more effectively” in Gaydon, Warwickshire. The British firm stressed it has drawn positive conclusions from the ending partnership with Magna, adding that all expectations have been fulfilled.A prototype of the Rapide was presented in 2006 before it went into production at the Magna plant three years later. The cooperation made headlines since the high-powered car was the first Aston Martin not produced in the United Kingdom (UK). Aston Martin initially planned to have around 2,000 models of the sports car manufactured before actual figures levelled at around 1,500.Around 150 employees of Magna, which tried to take over struggling German carmaker Opel two years ago, are affected by the production stop of the car which costs nearly 170,000 Euros. Austrian business newspapers reported today that the technicians had good chances to stay employed full-time working on the production of a new Mini when the Rapide order ends next year. German car company BMW is allegedly interested in ordering Magna to manufacture its Mini Paceman in Graz. The Austrian-Canadian company has been producing the Mini Countryman since last August.News of the end of the partnership between Magna and Aston Martin comes around half a year after BMW announced it decided to relocate the production of its X3 sport utility vehicle (SUV) from Graz to one of its own facilities, a factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA.Overall, said 40,352 vehicles were built in the first six months of 2010 at the Magna Steyr facility in Graz, 55 per cent more than in the first half of crisis year 2009.Approximately 4,500 staff working at the factory located in the suburbs of the provincial capital of Styria were put back into full-time employment in March 2010 after having done part-time for 18 months as a reaction to the effects of the economic downturn. The company – which had to cope with a sharp decline in orders in 2009 – managed to avoid laying off its employees in this way. Dozens of other Austrian companies introduced similar part-time programmes to avoid redundancies.