LONDON (Reuters) -- Aston Martin is now considering a site in Macedonia as it decides where to build a new plant to manufacture the DBX crossover model, two sources familiar with the matter said.
The automaker began with a list of 19 possible locations several months ago then narrowed the list down to two UK sites, one in the U.S. state of Alabama and a Middle Eastern location, a source told Reuters in December.
But in the last few weeks Macedonia has made an improved offer to the carmaker, which has previously said that any potential financial support is an important factor in making its choice, according to the sources.
"Macedonia is a recent and late contender having been previously ruled out," one of the sources said. "They came back with a stronger bid."
The source also said there was not enough clarity in the Middle Eastern option and that another candidate, a site in Sutton Coldfield, central England, "was a leading contender but has dropped a few balls of late."
A senior government official in the Macedonian capital Skopje, who declined to be named, confirmed that Macedonia was in the running. "We have made a good offer," he said, without elaborating.
Aston Martin, whose owners include Italian private equity group Investindustrial and Kuwaiti group Tejara Capital, is due to make a decision in the next few weeks.
The company declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.
The automaker is aiming to quadruple its total production volume to around 15,000 cars by the turn of the decade.
It already builds a range of cars at its existing plant at Gaydon in central England but has seen its volumes plunge since the 2008 financial crisis, recording its fourth consecutive loss in a row in 2014.
Aston Martin has said previously that it see advantages in locating the new plant in its home market but Macedonia is one of several countries to have sought to attract carmakers in recent years with the offer of generous subsidies.
The Balkan country's biggest success was getting the UK company Johnson Matthey to open an emission control catalyst plant east of Skopje in 2009.