Nissan and Spanish authorities have begun talks with interested parties on a possible takeover of the Japanese automaker’s three Barcelona plants, which are set to shut down this December as part of a restructuring initiative to reduce fixed costs.
Nissan has five plants in Spain, with three of them (Zona Franca, Montcada i Reixac and Sant Andreu de la Barca) being based in Barcelona. While these three will be closed by the end of 2021, the company will continue operating its Avila and Corrales de Buelna plants, with the former being a parts supplier for some Alliance models, while the latter is dedicated to the casting and machining of certain components.
According to an official release, “preferred negotiations” are being held with China’s Great Wall Motors (GWM) regarding Zona Franca, which is the largest of the three plants set to be shuttered. A CGT (General Confederation of Labour) union source told Reuters that GWM is also evaluating if there’s need to acquire the smaller Montcada i Reixac and Sant Andreu de la Barca.
Meanwhile, Spanish electric motorcycle manufacturer Silence and local electric mobility firm QEV Technologies – the latter has relations with Volta Trucks and Inzile – are said to only be interested in the smaller plants.
The source also noted that Nissan’s three Barcelona plants employ around 3,000 people directly and 20,000 indirectly. With the imminent closure, only 1,600 direct jobs are at stake since the rest of the workers will benefit from early retirement and other measures.
“Nissan is fully open to this negotiation with a single objective: to achieve the reindustrialisation of the Nissan plants in Barcelona. We are convinced that we will be able to find beneficial solutions for all parties”, said Frank Torres, executive regional vice president of business transformation and relations at the Alliance for the AMIEO (Africa, Middle East, India, Europe and Oceania (AMIEO) region. Torres is also responsible for Nissan’s industrial operations in Spain.
“As we have done from the beginning, Nissan will continue to play an active role in supporting the development of the selected projects. The company will work with the other members of the reindustrialisation commission during the negotiations with the best will to reach an agreement” he added.
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