Supercars are (almost) everyone’s dream to own and drive. The power. The speed. A good excuse to disregard fuel economy. There is also the appeal that comes with driving the same car as James Bond or the like. Aston Martin has noticed that American sales have up ticked, and are now considering a plant in the supercar capital of America…Alabama?…
Wait. Alabama is known more for lifted trucks and yelling at people on Sundays for not being in church, than for $100,000+ luxury vehicles. Why would they choose Alabama as their first plant? It could be that the executives in London are Roll Tide fans down deep, but I think it may be slightly more strategic.
In 1997 Mercedes-Benz opened a plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and most recently have produced the Mercedes C-Class at that plant. Fast forward to 2014, the parent company of the German luxury auto maker purchased a 5% stake Aston Martin. As a part of the deal Mercedes would also provide engines and electrical components to Aston Martin. So the addition of a plant in Alabama by the Bond brand would make a decent bit of sense as the two makers could exchange parts easily.
What is more striking about the placement of the plant; Alabama does not require the use of Union only workers. The Mercedes plant in Tuscaloosa is not unionized and in fact Mercedes recently got in trouble for antiunion practices. The United Autoworkers union has tried for some time to unionize the Tuscaloosa plant with little success. I would fully expect the UAW to try the same with the new workers of Aston Martin.
The decision by Aston Martin to go to Alabama instead of Michigan is just another blow to the deteriorating Rust Belt and more specifically Detroit. The UAW is in dire need of an increase of membership as they are down to a mere 319,000 because jobs have moved out of the union requiring states and even the country. It seems that the automakers no longer want anything to do with the Unions if it is possible to avoid them.