The first production Aston Martin DBX has rolled off the manufacturing line at the British carmaker’s St Athan facility, making the DBX the first Aston Martin to be made in Wales. Development for the DBX has been ongoing since 2015, and is crucial to the company as the SUV is expected to comprise around half of its total sales in the coming years, Autocar reports.

The DBX was officially revealed last November, and features the M177 4.0 litre, twin-turbocharged petrol V8 from Mercedes-AMG. This produces more power than in the Vantage and the eight-cylinder version of the DB11, with the SUV packing 550 PS and 700 Nm of torque that propels it from 0-100 km/h in 4.5 seconds onwards to a top speed of 291 km/h.

Previously a facility under the United Kingdom’s ministry of defence, the St Athan plant in Wales that now makes the DBX was comprised of three existing ‘super-hangars’ that have been transformed and repurposed for the manufacture of the five-seater Aston Martin.

There have been more than 2,000 orders for the DBX so far, the automaker claims, which will sustain production into 2021. Annual output at St Athan will be around 4,000 units, according to Autocar, and Aston Martin confirms that the first units will be delivered to customers later this month.

The 4.0 litre V8 powertrain will be joined by a 3.0 litre inline-six, said senior manager of global product management Neil Hughes last November. Like the V8, the six-cylinder is also from the Mercedes-AMG family of engines, and the latter is the M256 that is shared with the E 53, CLS 53, GLE 53 and GT 53. At the other end of the scale, the DBX could also gain the marque’s 5.2 litre V12.

The first production DBX to roll of the line was finished in Sterling Green, with interim chief operating officer Keith Stanton at the wheel. The start of production at the St Athan plant was “testament to the resilience and fortitude of everyone at Aston Martin,” said Stanton, who is in charge until former head of Mercedes-AMG Tobias Moers takes the helm as CEO in August.

The DBX will be pivotal in Aston Martin’s recovery as it has had to cut 500 jobs to help reduce costs. The marque posted a first-quarter loss following a nearly one-third drop in sales as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the restructuring was expected to save the firm about 38 million British pounds annually.

GALLERY: Aston Martin DBX