Chery and Ebro sign deal to build electric vehicles in Barcelona

Chinese and Catalan manufacturers reach agreement to begin production at former Nissan plant in Zona Franca

Aerial view of the former Nissan factory in Zona Franca, Barcelona
Aerial view of the former Nissan factory in Zona Franca, Barcelona / ACN

ACN | @agenciaacn | Barcelona

April 16, 2024 02:37 PM

April 16, 2024 07:04 PM

The Chinese vehicle manufacturer Chery and Catalonia's Ebro EV-Motors have signed a deal to build electric cars in Barcelona.

The deal makes the Wuhu-based state-owned carmaker the first Chinese car manufacturer to set up a plant in Europe.

With the agreement reached on Tuesday, production will return to the site of the former Nissan plant in Zona Franca almost three years after it closed.

The two companies announced the creation of a joint venture, with Ebro holding a majority stake, to manufacture Omoda and Ebro vehicles.

Although figures have not yet been announced, some forecasts suggest that Chery could produce 50,000 vehicles every year in Catalonia under its Omoda brand.

According to reports, Chery could employ 300 people. The first 150 employees are expected to be hired in the first half of 2024, and the rest will join the company in the second half of the year.

The pact was announced on Tuesday after months of intense negotiations involving several trips to China by Catalan authorities and Ebro. The deal will be sealed officially on Friday at an event in Zona Franca.

Catalan business minister Roger Torrent celebrated the deal, stressing that Chery's presence in Barcelona will ensure that Catalonia "continues to be one of the world's leading vehicle manufacturers."


"This agreement benefits the entire ecosystem of our country, all the secondary industries, all the suppliers in this value chain, and it helps bring us into the 21st century, specifically regarding electric vehicles," he added.

Nissan's Catalonia closure

Nissan's reindustrialization has been underway for three years, since May 2020, when the Japanese company announced the closure of its three plants in Catalonia.

After 95 days of strikes and protests, the unions and the company reached an agreement on the closure in August 2020, setting the definitive end of production for the end of 2021.

At the same time, institutions, the company and unions formed a working group to attract projects that would provide employment for more than 1,300 laid-off workers who opted for reindustrialization. 

The process faced numerous obstacles and delays, and up to 17 projects were considered.