IT'S the luxury car firm made famous by James Bond.

Now there are moves to persuade Aston Martin to make Southampton their new home, The iconic company is understood to be looking for a new manufacturing base.

And city politicians in the city have put forward the former Ford site as a perfect fit.

They say a new factory would create hundreds of jobs.

Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith has written to the company encouraging it to take on part of the Ford Transit site that has been empty for two years.

He says the site would be an "excellent location" for a new Aston Martin factory.

Talking up the city's road, rail and port links, and he has been supported by council chiefs and business leaders.

There is growing speculation that the firm, famous for producing a string of iconic cars including a number of vehicles for the James Bond films, is looking for a new production facility.

It has been reported that it wants to build 3,000 new hybrid four-by-four DBX vehicles, but is unlikely to have space for the extra factory at its base in Gaydon, Warwickshire.

The Ford Transit factory, which at its peak employed more than 4,000 people, closed two years ago and marketing of the site in Swaythling for new use started in May.

In his letter to Aston Martin chief executive Dr Andy Palmer, Mr Smith said the despite the closure of Ford's plant the "skills and experience that have been built up over decades at the factory remain with many of our local people".

He continued: "In addition to local expertise and an excellent potential manufacturing location, Southampton is the premier vehicle export port in the UK, handling nearly 850,000 vehicles a year - including Aston Martin and other luxury makes.

"The benefits of manufacturing vehicles close to the point of export is, of course, obvious and I am sure this will be a factor you would consider when choosing a suitable location.

"Southampton also has first-rate road and rail links to the rest of the UK and its close proximity to London further enhances the opportunities it offers as a potential site.

"We also have a super airport with good links within the UK and abroad."

Aston Martin would also fit into the council's long-term plan for the site, with leader Simon Letts saying he wants to see high-skill manufacturing return to it.

Deputy leader Warwick Payne said: "The council has a commitment that we are looking to create more jobs on the Ford site and are not in the market for a scheme that would simply be houses and nothing else.

"Getting a well-known brand to move on to the site would be a boost but the crucial thing is generating Southampton jobs for Southampton families.

And Maureen Frost, deputy chief executive of the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: "We would definitely support that, it's a really good quality name that could be associated with the city and it would help to replace the gap made when Ford moved out and McLaren moved out of Portsmouth.

"We would be encouraged to see the site being used for something similar to what used to be there and providing jobs for local people."

A spokesman for Aston Martin said: "We are assessing a number of sites across the world, including some in the UK."

Ford was one of the city's biggest employers during the four decades Transit vans were produced at the site.

It opened in 1972 and more than 2.2million Transit vans rolled off the production line over the following 41 years until workers were hit with the bombshell that the plant would be closing.

It came after Ford made the controversial decision to end vehicle production in the UK and move its Transit operations to a recently-completed factory in Kocaeli, Turkey.

The last post was played by bugle in July 2013 as the plant shut its doors for the last time, with 356 workers taking voluntary redundancy while a few took on new roles in Ford's other operations in the city.