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Punch presents €1bn plan to make 75,600 vehicles at Nissan site by 2030

Belgian group, one of several bidders, say they will create 2,000 jobs and use all three existing plants 

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14 September 2021 05:38 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The Belgian automotive company Punch Powertrain has unveiled its proposed plans for the Barcelona site being vacated by Nissan: to manufacture 46,100 hydrogen, electric and diesel vehicles by 2025 and 75,600 by 2030.

The group, one of several vying to take over the factories, say they could employ 2,000 people with an investment of €650m over the next six years, a figure that could rise to €1bn by 2030, according to Andy Palmer, a former Nissan executive now leading Punch's Barcelona bid.

"We think we have the best project for the brownfield site of Nissan Motor Iberica," Palmer told media on Tuesday. "We have a proposal that largely employs the people that exist, largely uses the supply network, uses all three production plants and uses all of the production capacity. We think that is the right answer."

Hydrogen, electric and diesel

The company is also promising to invest €80m in a new paint plant and presented a prototype of a hydrogen combustion vehicle based on the Nissan Navara pickup.

Punch hopes to relaunch this model, which Nissan views as obsolete, under its own brand, focusing on "very specific" customers. It also plans to manufacture electric vehicles for the taxi industry based on Nissan's e-NV200 van. Diesel pickups that meet the requirements of the Euro 6d and Euro 7 standards will also be sold.

The company says 1,000 jobs could be created by 2022, and up to 2,000 from 2025, more than the current number of employees working at the three existing Nissan plants.

Punch CEO and owner Guido Dumarey said they were looking to create quality manufacturing jobs, "completely different" from the fast food or logistics sectors. "A job at McDonalds or Amazon is a fantastic first job, but then you must grow further," he said.

Nissan's departure

In May 2020, Japanese carmaker Nissan announced their decision to pull out of Catalonia after 40 years.

Following months of protests from staff, Nissan reached a deal with its workers to postpone the closure of its car manufacturing plants until December 2021, one year later than originally planned.

A decision on the future of the Nissan site in Barcelona's Zona France is expected to be made by the end of September.

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  • Prototype hydrogen combustion vehicle that the Punch group wants to manufacture at the Nissan plants, September 14, 2021 (by Aina Martí)

  • Prototype hydrogen combustion vehicle that the Punch group wants to manufacture at the Nissan plants, September 14, 2021 (by Aina Martí)

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