June 21, 2018 / 11:28 AM / 9 months ago

Aston Martin to open Silverstone test center

FILE PHOTO: An Aston Martin logo is pictured during the 88th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland, March 6, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Aston Martin will open a test and development center at Silverstone, the home of British Formula One racing, as the luxury carmaker continues to expand ahead of a possible stock market flotation.

James Bond’s car brand of choice is undergoing a turnaround plan designed to boost its model line-up, quadruple volumes and produce its first sport utility vehicle at a new plant in Wales.

The firm, which sponsors the Red Bull Formula One team, said its Silverstone site would open in October and employ 60 people.

Many Formula One teams have been based close to Silverstone in central England, leading the area to become known as motor sport valley. Silverstone hosted the first Formula One championship race in 1950.

“The company is now investing for growth across the Aston Martin and Lagonda brands,” said Chief Executive Andy Palmer in a statement, also announcing the opening of a central London office.

Aston said the new locations would help increase the firm’s total workforce by over half to 5,000 by the end of 2022.

After six years of losses, Aston Martin swung to a pretax profit in 2017 and the company has said it is considering a stock market flotation which sources have told Reuters could come as soon as this year.

Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Mark Potter

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