A CABINET minister was at the Port of Southampton to see Aston Martin’s first luxury sports utility vehicle (SUV) before it is exported to the US.

International trade secretary Liz Truss took a look at the DBX, which will be shipped later this summer, ahead of the third round of trade talks with the US.

Motor manufacturing employs 166,000 people in the UK and accounts for 8.5 per cent of manufacturing output.

Cars are the largest UK goods export to the US, worth £7.5billion.

The government says a trade deal with the US will reduce barriers faced by British manufacturers, making it easier for companies like Aston Martin to export. The DBX is built at Aston Martin’s St Athan factory in South Wales and will be on US roads by September, bearing a “Made in Wales” plaque.

The first DBX came off the production line on July 9 and the cars are due to arrive at the Port of New Jersey in August, for distribution to dealerships all over America.

Aston Martin is set to export 80 per cent of its DBX cars, with the US as the largest market.

The government wants the US to remove the average tariff of 2.5 per cent on UK car exports to the US.

The minister said: “It’s great to see an iconic brand like Aston Martin showcasing the best of British design and engineering with the launch of the DBX, while creating jobs and new opportunities in Wales.

“The UK automotive industry is one of our great success stories, and we will continue to push for a US trade deal that removes barriers for British car manufacturers like Aston Martin.

“More trade with the US will help boost our economic recovery from coronavirus, and our Automotive Sector Deal will not only bring growth and investment to Wales, but other manufacturing hubs in the Midlands, North West and North East, creating prosperity all over the UK.”

Aston Martin was one of the first British car manufacturers to resume production in May after closures due to coronavirus.

Marek Reichman, executive vice president and chief creative officer at Aston Martin, said: “We are immensely proud of the DBX our first SUV, designed, developed and manufactured here in the UK by our incredibly talented team.

“Bringing both the versatility and indulgence expected of a luxury SUV with sports car levels of dynamic performance, DBX sets a bold new standard in this sector.

“At the outset we wanted to make the most beautiful SUV, that would appeal to consumers around the world and I believe we have achieved that.”