Aston Martin will move production of its V12 engines to Cologne, Germany next year. It will be the first time Aston Martins have used engines built outside the UK.

Currently the 5.9-litre engines are built at Wellingborough by Cosworth Technology, which is owned by Audi. Late in 2004 production will switch to the Cologne engine plant of Aston’s parent company, Ford. The engines will be built in a new, purpose-built area of the plant.

Aston chief Dr Ulrich Bez said the new production facility would be ‘totally flexible allowing us to assemble modular engine concepts and variants’, fuelling speculation that the company’s new V8 engine has much in common with the existing V12. The V8 is due to make its debut in 2005 in a small Aston coupe to be built at Gaydon in Warwickshire, close to the Heritage Motor Centre.

Currently Aston’s line-up is entirely V12 powered, with power outputs ranging from 420bhp in the DB7 Vantage to 460bhp in the Vanquish.