The work to find a new industrial project to replace the employment and economic activity that Nissan guaranteed until this spring in the Barcelona Free Zone are progressing at a good pace, or at least that is what the Generalitat and the Ministry of Industry assured yesterday in a meeting held in the commission in charge of drawing the future of the plants of the Japanese firm in Catalonia.
As explained in a brief statement released yesterday, there is interest from different firms, whose names were not revealed, for taking over some plants that came to employ more than 3,000 people. As the heads of the Department of Business and the Ministry of Industry pointed out at the meeting, so far “various projects” have been received with possible future alternatives for the Barcelona plants. However, for the moment it is avoided to say specific names and it was only advanced that possible projects revolve around sectors related to the new mobility and the “green” transition of the automobile sector. Thus, one of the projects would involve installing a battery production plant in the Nissan factory to supply the Spanish market, and part of the European one, with electric vehicles, which, according to a study by the European Federation for Transport and Environment, will triple until 2021 its production of vehicles.
Another possibility, also related to the booming sector of hybrid and electric vehicles, would be the installation in Barcelona of a car assembly plant of this type. Lastly, there would be the option of creating in the Free Trade Zone, one of the largest industrial centers in Catalonia, an “electromobility” hub made up of various companies in the sector.
The new proposals were welcomed by the members of the “reindustrialization” table. In this sense, the special delegate of the State in the Consortium of the Free Trade Zone of Barcelona, Pere Navarro, expressed the availability of his institution to provide the best option, always prioritizing projects of an industrial nature. This opinion is especially relevant, since the consortium owns the land on which the main work center that the Japanese car company has in Catalonia is built. The four union organizations that participate in the roundtable were also optimistic (SIGEN-USOC, CC.OO. UGT and CGT), which reiterated that their priority is to maintain or maximize the number of jobs in the Free Trade Zone with the intention to maintain the industrial fabric of an axis closely linked to the automobile sector in which some electric motorcycle firms would also be interested.
Following in the footsteps of Seat and LG
Over the last few months, the interest of several companies in the Nissan plant has been known. However, the definitive “yes” does not seem to come despite the trial and error made by companies such as the South Korean LG, which this September was willing to make a millionaire investment to convert the Nissan facilities into an electric battery factory, such as reported ABC. This plan, for now not confirmed, could save between 1,500 and 2,000 jobs of the 2,500 that went to the streets with the closure announcement. However, this powerful investment would be conditional on receiving some 400 million aid from European funds.
The LG option would also imply the entry into the scene of Seat, which would have guaranteed the new investor to make it its main supplier of batteries for the Martorell plant, the largest car factory in Spain. Not in vain, the Spanish firm announced this summer that will invest up to 5,000 million in new projects, especially related to the electric car.