The recent news regarding capacity hikes and new production lines for the Nissan Plant in Barcelona are a breath of fresh air for the brand and for such a car-manufacturing region as is Catalonia. Nissan will build 80,000 units of its new model, a family car that will be produced in its Barcelona Factory and that will represent an investment of €110m and an addition of 1,000 direct jobs and 3,000 indirect jobs.
This news is not only positive in terms of the new model: it also includes the assignment of additional units to the Zona Franca plant of models already being manufactured there. Nissan will manufacture 24,000 additional 1Tn Pick Ups in Barcelona, which will represent an investment of €14m, and the assembly of gearboxes for the Nissan Leaf and the e-NV200 with an additional investment of €6m.
Thus, the total figure of these recently announced investments in the beginning of 2013, will add up to €130m and the creation of 4,000 new jobs (both direct and indirect).
Even more relevant is the fact that this good news comes after the recent even more important announcements made last year by Nissan regarding its plants in Spain, and in particular, the Barcelona Zona Franca factory.
In 2012, Nissan announced an investment of €290m for the production of the e-NV200, the second all-electric Nissan model, already produced in Zona Franca in its non-electric version, and the latest introduction of the 1Tn Pick Up model to the factory production line.
Barcelona will be the only production centre in the world for the e-NV200, which will be shipped to all world markets. The future for this model looks very promising, as its non-electric predecessor reached sales of 100,000 units, with its great popularity and performance being clearly recognized when it became the new generation NYC Taxi after fierce competition with other competitors.
Competitiveness, flexibility and a faith in the future
The factors that played a part in this decision are closely linked to significant changes on different levels. In competitive terms, the Spanish economy, facing dramatic challenges, is drastically improving its competitiveness, especially in labour terms. The Nissan workforce agreed upon a series of flexible measures, including salary cuts for new workers, which have been vital in improving the plant’s international competitiveness. On a productive level, the Barcelona Nissan Plant will become one the most flexible in terms of its capacity to produce different lines and models (commercial, family, 4WD, and key pieces for electric vehicles), and this means the factory can be maintained at optimum productive capacity.
On a technological level, the Plant will continue to increase its commitment to electric vehicles, a commitment that makes the brand a world leader in this segment. The Leaf model, for which the Catalan plant is building the gearboxes, is the global top selling EV, with 50,000 units sold as of February 2013. The Zona Franca plant is also home to one of the five European Nissan Technological Centres in Europe. The Barcelona base specializes in vehicle development and diesel engines.
This increase in production also demonstrates Nissan’s faith in the evolution of international markets and the recuperation of European markets, with a range of energy efficient vehicles adapted to the needs of today’s drivers.