Catalonia concentrates 21.8% of the automotive companies in Spain, making it a significant automotive manufacturing centre. Generating 8.66% of the total GDP value, automotive is the second largest sector of Catalonia’s economy.
Being home to all levels of the value chain, Catalonia is also one of the major automotive R&D and engineering hubs in Europe, as well as a hub in IT solutions and software development for vehicles and mobility. It hosts Seat’s automotive OEM development centre and most of the engineering units of the parts suppliers Tier 1 and 2.
Mobility-as-a-Service is also a reference in Catalonia with renowned HQ’s, development centers and initiatives like Seat’s Metropolis:Lab, EIT Urban Mobility, Free Now, SocialCar, Cooltra or Hive.
Global and with access to both markets and suppliers
As a global automotive hub, Catalonia generates 19.1% of Spanish vehicle exports. In part, this is due to its excellent communication network, both internal and external, with full-modal integration transport systems.
Catalonia is also a highly efficient hub to European, North African and Latin American markets, with over 400 million customers reachable in less than 48 hours. Together with a strong business network and availability for qualified workers, it is no surprise that Catalonia is a leading destination for automotive FDI, where it is the 3rd region in Western Europe for capital investment (2016 - 2020).
Competitive and highly R&D focused
Catalonia has a critical mass of R&D centres specialising in the automotive industry. Different tech centres develop technologies and materials for future vehicle and mobility, such as Applus IDIADA, Eurecat, Leitat, CarNET, i2CAT or ICFO. The Automotive Industry Cluster of Catalonia (CIAC) is highly active. It is comprised by more than 200 companies that work together in pushing the competitiveness of the automotive industry as the driving force behind the Catalan economy.
Within this ecosystem the Catalonia Living Lab stands out, a public-private framework for development and testing of connected and automated vehicle technologies. It provides the main test environments required in the development process of connected and automated vehicles: from virtual simulation to laboratories, proving grounds and public roads.
Catalonia’s new business opportunities in the automotive sector
In terms of mobility of the future, Catalonia is transforming the automotive industrial suppliers (Tier) with a focus on connected-autonomous- shared-electric vehicles (CASE) and the digitalization of plants. R&D, innovation and new technologies are increasing opportunities for engineering companies and solution providers.
The needs of OEMs and Tiers for moulds and dies, new materials, components and plastic injection are giving rise to new business opportunities. Furthermore, automotive R&D, innovation and new technologies are increasing opportunities for both established engineering and new incoming engineering.