Chinese company Chery chooses Barcelona for its first electric car plant in Europe

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Business Investments · Automotive, Logistics & Smart Cities

19 Apr 2024

Chery has signed an agreement with the Catalan company Ebro-EV Motors, which represents an investment of 400 million euros in Zona Franca (Barcelona).

Chinese carmaker Chery will start producing electric cars in Barcelona, its first car plant in Europe. Chery is the leading vehicle exporter in China, with 937,148 million units exported in 2023.

The Chinese manufacturer has signed a joint venture with the Catalan company Ebro EV-Motors, and both companies will start manufacturing Omoda (Chery's brand) and Ebro vehicles. The deal makes Chery the first Chinese automaker to set up a plant in Europe and represents a 400 million euros investment in the plant in Zona Franca (Barcelona), made by both public and private sectors.

The agreement was signed today in Barcelona after months of intense negotiations, including several trips to China by Catalan authorities and Ebro. With this deal, production will return to the site of the former Nissan plant in Zona Franca (Barcelona).

The Government of Catalonia, through ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment, played a crucial role in this agreement by actively facilitating the relationship with the Chinese company Chery and ensuring the successful execution of the deal.

During the event, Pedro Calef, CEO of Ebro, and Zhang Guibing, Executive Vice President of Chery Automobile, signed the agreement in the presence of the President of the Government of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, the Minister of Business and Labour, Roger Torrent, the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the Minister of Industry, Jordi Hereu. Also present were representatives of the Chinese Embassy and Consulate in Spain, the Province of Anhui (China), and more than one hundred guests.

“The Barcelona plant will be one of Chery's main export bases worldwide”

Zhang Guibing, Executive Vice president of Chery

Zhang Guibing, Executive Vice President of Chery, said in his speech that "Europe is the cradle of the automotive industry, and Spain has been of great interest to Chery. This plant will create thousands of local jobs. Once this industrial park reaches the necessary scale, we will export to Europe and other countries. It will be one of Chery's main export bases worldwide. Ebro is a historic brand, and today, Ebro and Chery have found common opportunities for global leadership".

Pedro Calef, CEO of Ebro, stated during his participation at the event: "Ebro is the first company to enter into a joint venture with a Chinese automotive company. Chery strengthens its European presence by manufacturing vehicles in the Zona Franca of Barcelona. This joint venture will study the creation of an R&D center in Barcelona for certifications in the European market in the future. Ebro and Chery are totally committed to this plant. Today, we start on a brilliant path, and our goal is to produce 150,000 vehicles in 2029".

Key role of the Catalan government

The President of the Government of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, expressed, "From the first moment, we have worked to ensure the continuity of industrial production in this factory. Today, we see that Chery, the leader in the production of electric vehicles, has chosen Catalonia to establish itself in Europe. We have done very cautious work from the Government of Catalonia, with many months of negotiations and meetings in China and Catalonia. We are looking for new investments and international projects because the Catalan economy is attractive, and we have the capacity and resilience. Catalonia is a land to invest in and to realize such projects. Today, we see how many industrial projects choose Catalonia when they have to choose where to be in Europe."

Pedro Sánchez stressed that "Catalonia is Spain's industrial reference, especially in the automotive sector. This agreement contributes to making Spain the European hub for electric mobility. Spain is the second-largest automotive producer in Europe and the eighth-largest exporter globally. We have 15 technology centers and 10 automotive clusters, as well as 1,000 automotive companies and 230,000 employees in the automotive sector. This agreement is a symbol of Spain's ability to attract major foreign investment".

Chery, a global leader in automotive exports

Chery is a globally recognized leader in vehicle manufacturing and development. Established in 1997 and headquartered in Wuhu, China, it has been the leading exporter of vehicles from China for over two decades. With over 80,000 employees, including 5,500 dedicated to research and development, Chery has a more than 41.7 billion euros turnover.

With more than 9.5 million consumers worldwide, Chery operates in more than 80 countries and has established five R&D centers, including one in the United States, Germany, and Brazil.

Attracting Foreign Investment to Catalonia

There are currently more than 200 subsidiaries of Chinese companies in Catalonia. This number has grown exponentially in recent years, making China the third most important non-European country in terms of the number of subsidiaries in Catalonia, after the United States and Japan.

In order to promote investment in Barcelona-Catalonia, Catalonia Trade & Investment has established the China Desk, which is located at the agency's headquarters in Barcelona. The China Desk has a team of Chinese professionals who facilitate dialogue between executives of global companies and local authorities. It also works in coordination with Catalonia Trade & Investment's offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

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Qiaoshan Xue

Qiaoshan Xue

Head of China Desk


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