First Aston Martins to be made outside UK

VIENNA Tue Mar 4, 2008 6:42pm GMT

The new Aston Martin DBS is seen at the Frankfurt International Auto Show IAA in Frankfurt September 11, 2007. Aston Martin, whose DB5 model was driven by James Bond, is to assemble vehicles outside Britain for the first time after a deal with Austria's Magna Steyr, the company said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay /Files

The new Aston Martin DBS is seen at the Frankfurt International Auto Show IAA in Frankfurt September 11, 2007. Aston Martin, whose DB5 model was driven by James Bond, is to assemble vehicles outside Britain for the first time after a deal with Austria's Magna Steyr, the company said on Tuesday.

Credit: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay /Files

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VIENNA (Reuters) - Luxury car maker Aston Martin, whose DB5 model was driven by James Bond, is to assemble vehicles outside Britain for the first time after a deal with Austria's Magna Steyr, the company said on Tuesday.

Magna Steyr is a unit of Canada's Magna International MGa.TO.

The four-door Rapide will be assembled at Graz in southern Austria from late 2009 with production expected at around 2,000 a year, Aston Martin said in a statement. It already makes engines in Germany.

The DB5 was famously driven by the fictional spy James Bond in early films including "Goldfinger". Bond also drove other Aston Martins including the DBS in "Casino Royale" and the V12 Vanquish in "Die Another Day".

Magna Steyr, with a history dating to the early days of motoring, has assembled vehicles for makers like BMW (BMWG.DE) and Saab (GM.N).

An Aston Martin spokeswoman said the car had not been priced yet but auto writers expect the Rapide to cost about $250,000 (125,000 pounds).

Aston Martin is 50 percent owned by Kuwait's Investment Dar TIDK.KW, part of a group fronted by former Benetton racing boss David Richards that bought the marque from Ford Motor (F.N) in March 2007 for 479 million pounds.

(Reporting by Paul Bolding; Editing by Catherine Evans)