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Car factories in Spain are still not 100% waiting for an upturn in demand

JG Automotive News

The vehicle factories of Spain, except for that of Mercedes-Benz, keep their production below what they had before the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, waiting to see how the demand evolves, both nationally and internationally, since they export more than 80% of what they produce.

In Spain, the second European automobile manufacturer and ninth in the world, the Volkswagen (Seat), PSA, Renault Nissan, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Iveco groups have seventeen plants, twelve of which are assembly plants, which employ some 66,000 people in production and more than 27,000 in other departments such as administration.

In mid-March, coinciding with the declaration of the state of alarm and the closing of the dealerships, all the factories stopped their production and resumed activity between April 27 and May 4, without reaching levels for the time being. of production prior to the covid-19.

Thus, in the largest plant in Spain, the Seat plant in Martorell (Barcelona), five of the seven shifts are currently active, which means that 1,500 of the 11,000 employees linked to production remain on the temporary employment regulation file (ERTE ) applied due to the cessation of activity.

The Catalan plant produced about 2,200 units a day of the Ibiza, Arona, León and Audi A1 models, while it currently manufactures about 1,125, a figure that they plan to progressively increase, according to Seat sources, which exports around 80% of production .

Volkswagen Navarra, which before the closure forced by the pandemic manufactured 1,438 vehicles / day, resumed production on April 27 with one shift (527 cars / day), while the second shift was incorporated on June 3, and it begins to produce 1,054 daily units of the Polo (45%) and T-Cross (55%) models.

“We do not expect the entry of the third shift to be before the end of August, although everything will depend on the evolution of the market. If the dealers do not drive sales, we can do little, but we are confident that the support plans for the sector that are being approved by the governments of Europe will make it possible for demand to recover, “said Volkswagen sources, who recalled that they export 91 % of the production.

At the Navarre plant, 4,773 people worked in March, between permanent and temporary, of whom 3,742 have returned to activity, while 660 are still in ERTE and the rest are on leave since before production was interrupted or have been included in groups of risk.

The Ford plant in Almussafes (Valencia) resumed activity on May 4 with two shifts and since June 8 the three shifts that the factory has already worked, which, before the outbreak of the pandemic, manufactured 1,740 cars / day, Although he decided to reduce it to 1,640 and adjust his staff with 350 voluntary “departures”.

“Now we are at 1,600 units and next week the new maximum production will be reached,” explained Ford, who at his Valencian facilities adds 7,000 workers between the assembly line and the engine factory, where they remain at ERTE 100. and 500 workers, respectively.

The Ford plant produces the Kuga, Mondeo, S-Max, Galaxy and Transit Connect models and last year exported 94% of its production.

For its part, Mercedes-Benz in Vitoria resumed activity on April 27 with one shift, to which the second was added on May 11 and the third on May 18, the date from which it manufactured 680 units / day, its production habitual.

“We are the first manufacturer in Spain to reach the usual production level with the three full shifts,” according to sources at Mercedes-Benz Vitoria, the largest plant in the Basque Country, with 5,000 workers and in which models such as the Vito are produced.

For its part, the PSA group will count from Monday with 5 of the 6 shifts of its plant in Zaragoza (Opel), whose daily production will reach 1,750 units, compared to the 2,250 it manufactured before the state of alarm.

In Vigo (Citroen / Peugeot / Opel / Toyota), it has resumed the fourth shift and production stands at around 2,000 units / day, 250 less than before the outbreak of the pandemic, while a single factory operates in the Madrid factory. shift two days a week.

In the case of Renault, the Valladolid body and assembly plant (the Captur model is made) has recovered 80% of its 4,500 workers; and the one in Palencia (which produces about 920 Megane and Kadjar a day) has reinstated one hundred percent of its 2,400 employees.

The French manufacturer of the diamond also has an engine factory in Valladolid and another for gearboxes in Seville, where 30% of its 6,400 and 5,200 employees, respectively, have returned.

In the case of IVECO, the production of the Madrid and Valladolid plants, in which the two shifts are active from “minute one”, is below the 120 units a day they manufactured before the break and the company has already raised to unions the need to adjust the workforce to the drop in demand.

In the case of trucks and unlike what happens with passenger cars, work is done on request, they have recalled from IVECO, which will negotiate with the unions alternatives to an ERE.

At Nissan Barcelona, which resumed activity on May 4, the situation has been complicated after the announcement of its closure from December this year, a measure that has sparked protests from its nearly 3,000 workers and which keeps the production from Monday.

Expansion-June 13, 2020 (Translation Soft)

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