The closure of the Nissan plants in Catalonia, communicated yesterday by the company's management to the Minister of Industry, represents a blow for the Spanish economy and, in particular, for the automobile industry. The factory has three facilities, 3,000 direct employees and some 12,000 indirect. It is worth noting the inability of the Government to tie its continuity despite the fact that Sánchez himself, after holding a meeting with the managers of the firm at the Davos Forum last January, guaranteed the future of jobs. The Executive has gone from boasting about the continuity of the factory to being forced to look for alternatives against the clock. All this in a context in which, unlike countries such as Germany or France, Spain has not yet been able to articulate a plan to preserve the viability of the automotive industry, which brings together 10% of GDP. The Government of PSOE-Podemos, as with tourism, seems determined to despise a sector that in April suffered a drop in sales of more than 96%.
It is evident the position of weakness in which Nissan had remained after the creation of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, which includes a distribution of regions according to which Europe will be led by Renault. In addition, the allocation of products also meant that, in the medium term, the vehicles now produced in the Free Zone of the Catalan capital became the responsibility of Renault and Mitsubishi. In any case, there are domestic factors that have aggravated a closure that may be framed in a context of relocations . First, the erratic and insolvent industrial policy -Alcoa also confirmed yesterday its closure in Lugo- of the Sánchez government, which has sent equivocal signals on sensitive matters such as diesel. Second, the threat to investors posed by the separatist challenge. And, third, the populism of Colau and his councilors, to which is now added the delirious proposal by Podemos and Íñigo Errejón to nationalize the production of this factory, as if the patent were in Spanish hands. The fall of the Barcelona plant carries the danger of a domino effect in the rest of the facilities.
The Government puts the cost of the closure at 1,000 million, while the Generalitat assumes that it will not recover 22 million in aid granted to Nissan. There is an urgent need for a crash plan for the automobile aimed not only at safeguarding employment , but also at encouraging the purchase of vehicles by individuals and company fleets with the support of the State. The Executive cannot remain mere verbiage. Manufacturers, sellers and consumers need legal certainty and financial and fiscal support. Otherwise, the bleeding of the industry will exacerbate the recession.
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