- Closing.Nissan confirms that it leaves Barcelona
- Unions. "They have let us die"
- Frank Torres, the linker who promised 1,000 jobs
The president of Nissan's European subsidiary, Gianluca de Ficchy, has insisted that "government and union pressure will not change the decision to close" at the Nissan plants in Barcelona, Montcada i Reixac and Sant Andreu. And he confirmed that "we have already begun consultations with workers", maintaining the closure for "December 2020" and the dismissal of the 3,000 factory employees.
De Ficchy states that "I understand the pressures but the decision is well thought out, has not been taken lightly and is based on an economic feasibility study ." In this report, Nissan confirms that "there is no viable alternative for the future of the plant in Barcelona, nor does it include significant aid from the Government and the Generalitat."
The president of Nissan Europe affirmed that the alternative proposed by the Ministry of Industry that the brand assigned an electric vehicle to the Barcelona plant was taken into consideration. " The problem of the Barcelona factory is one of overcapacity , not of production quality or efficiency. At the end of last year, Daimler informed us that he stopped producing his [Mercedes-Benz X-Class] pickup in May, which conditioned the viability of the plant because the Daimler model accounted for 50% of production . " Nissan Barcelona was producing at 23% of its capacity and Daimler's departure meant falling well below that percentage, in addition to the fact that the Mercedes pickup was the most profitable product at the factory.
This was the tip to make the decision. "A decision that has been debated not only at the executive level but within the executive committee of the company and its global manufacturing capabilities", according to de Ficchy, who recalled that "less than a year ago we were in Barcelona to announce a restructuring [ Employment Regulation File] for 600 or 700 people. And we said that production should be kept between 60,000 and 70,000 units. " For this, an investment was promised in the new paint booth that has never arrived because production would close 2020 below 40,000 units.
Faced with Daimler's decision, Nissan told unions in February that it would decide the future of the plant before summer. The Covid19 has accelerated a restructuring of the strategy of the Renault Nissan Alliance that includes the closure of Barcelona . De Ficchy said they are not considering selling the facility to another company. " We have a global overcapacity problem ." Nissan intends to reduce its annual vehicle production by 20% to 5.4 million units.
The president of Nissan Europe confirmed that " Ávila and Cantabria continue their operations because they have no relationship with Nissan Barcelona. They are plants of the Alliance that make parts for Renault."
The Cantabria plant in Corrales de Buelma supplies parts to Sunderland, the only factory that Nissan has in Europe. De Ficchy argued that "the Sunderland plant where we manufacture the Nissan Qashqai, Juke and Leaf is very efficient . " Now, if there is a hard Brexit with strong tariffs between the United Kingdom and the European Union, Nissan would study the alternatives "that arise within the Alliance", since the competitiveness of the plants is reviewed periodically. However, "our intention is to continue making the Qashqai, the Juke and the Leaf in Sunderland."
Nissan is not leaving Spain
Regarding commercialization, De Fichy was exhaustive, "There has never been an intention to leave Europe. We will continue in Europe and in Spain, which we have also confirmed in the group's global plan" that was presented at the end of May. The brand's decision to close Barcelona will affect the brand "but if we want the brand to be sustainable in the future we have to make difficult decisions to accept ."
Nissan stopped marketing its premium maca, Infiniti , in Europe last year . Decision that "has nothing to do with the economic feasibility study that has been made of Nissan Barcelona", so that Nissan will continue as a brand in the future in Europe , according to De Ficchy.
Within the new strategy of the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance of leading company and follower company according to models, regions and products. Renault will lead Europe and electromobility also with small SUVs, the Nissan Juke and the Renault Captur, while Nissan will be the leader of the all-terrain models (crossovers) with the Qashqai at the helm. This model represents more than 50% of the brand's sales in several of its European markets. "Our intention is to continue with Qashqai, Juke and X-Trail enhancing the crossover segment . "
The problem of SUVs in Europe has to do with the future restriction of emissions. Here Nissan will introduce hybrid e-Power technology in the new Qashqai to lower them. "And the Ariya will be a very important model in crossovers." It is the 100% electric SUV of the brand that is presented "in July worldwide" and that it is scheduled for sale before the end of the year in Europe.
According to De Ficchy, Nissan will also continue to have more vehicles in addition to crossovers. " We are going to continue with the production of the Micra (small utility) in Flins, France," a plant that belongs to Renault and where the French brand's Clio is manufactured.
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