MADRID – Nissan gives conditional approval to a plan proposed by management of the automaker’s Barcelona, Spain, plant to keep the facility open and preserve 3,050 jobs.
José Vicente de los Mozos, head of the Renault-Nissan Alliance in Spain, says implementing the plan is contingent on reaching new agreements with unions to reduce manufacturing costs and on Nissan Spain receiving government subsidies to finance investments in the plant.
Since mid-2018, when the Barcelona plant stopped manufacturing Pulsar and Evalia cars as well as the diesel version of the NV200 light-commercial vehicle, the factory has run at about 30% of its 200,000-unit capacity. It currently assembles the Nissan Navara pickup, its Renault Alaskan and Mercedes-Benz X-Class clones, and the electric version of the NV200.
In the first nine months of the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the Barcelona plant produced 58,875 vehicles, compared with 65,305 in the same period a year earlier.
De los Mozos, whom the unions criticized for making the news public before communicating it to workers’ representatives, hopes agreements can be reached with the latter and with various government administrations before the Barcelona auto show opens May 9.
The unions say de los Mozos’ statements leave many questions unanswered, including what new models could be built in the future at Barcelona and, above all, when assembly work would begin. They also say de los Mozos has not offered details of what investments Nissan plans to make at the plant.
De los Mozos downplays the unions’ misgivings, recalling that in 2018 the Cabstar truck factory in Ávila, 75 miles (120 km) northwest of Madrid, was closed but was converted into a parts plant. “And that was a much more difficult situation than the plant in Barcelona,” he says.