Luxury British sportscar manufacturer Aston Martin has unveiled a £500m trade and investment deal with Japan, as UK Prime Minister Theresa May arrived in the country to meet Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, along with a British trade delegation.

Under the terms of the agreement, Aston Martin will expand its dealership network in Japan, open up new commercial facilities including a global brand centre in the capital Tokyo, and Aston Martin Meta Technology and Luxury Accelerator offices by 2018.

To follow up on the expansion, the carmaker would increase exports to Japan under a five-year plan that would benefit its assembly line in St Athan in Vale of Glamorgan and Gaydon in Warwickshire.

The announcement was made by Aston Martin's president and chief executive officer, Dr Andy Palmer, who is part of the UK delegation accompanying Prime Minister May.

Commenting on the deal, May said: "As we prepare to leave the European Union, it is vital that we build on our existing ties with friends and allies.

"Aston Martin is a prime example of the innovative and world leading firms the UK is proud of and I'm delighted they are joining me on this important trade mission. We've seen SoftBank, Nissan, Toyota investing in the UK since the referendum vote took place and, as part of the visit here today, a £500m Aston Martin deal."

Palmer said: "Japan is key to our future plans as we completely revitalise and expand our product portfolio. We have long enjoyed a loyal following from Japanese customers and the public alike, with our new dealership in Tokyo set to become our largest worldwide by volume."

Aston Martin currently exports four sportscar models to Japan, including its new DB11 model.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, the company plans to introduce a sports utility vehicle (SUV) marked for manufacturing at its St Athan facility.