NOTE! This site uses cookies

By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more detalis, see Read more

Accept

What are you looking for?

Volkswagen to decide whether Catalonia will produce SEAT's new SUV

In the coming weeks, the management of Volkswagen Group should decide where to produce its latest SUV model, designed in the SEAT Technical Centre in Martorell (Greater Barcelona) and featuring two versions, one for the Catalan brand and the other one for Skoda. The President of the SEAT Workers Committee in Martorell, Matias Carnero, argued that the Catalonia-based factory was the most competitive to produce the vehicle. These past weeks, some sources have asserted that Martorell’s main rival, the Skoda plant in the Czech Republic, would ultimately be chosen. Indeed, it is believed that the President of SEAT Jürgen Stackmann hinted at such a fact in several internal meetings. However, Matias Carnero insisted that the Martorell factory had never been completely ruled out.

SHARE

14 January 2014 08:36 PM

by

ACN / Esther Romagosa

Martorell (ACN).- The management of Volkswagen Group should decide in the coming weeks where to produce its latest SUV model, entirely designed in the SEAT Technical Centre in Martorell (Greater Barcelona) and featuring two versions, one for the Catalan brand and the other one for Skoda. The President of the SEAT Workers Committee in Martorell and member of the UGT trade union, Matias Carnero, argued that the Catalonia-based factory was the most competitive and its workers the most qualified to produce the vehicle. While both company directors and trade union representatives said they had not reached any decision yet, some sources have asserted that Martorell’s main rival, the Skoda plant in the Czech Republic, would ultimately be chosen. Indeed, it is believed that the President of SEAT, Jürgen Stackmann, hinted at such a fact in several internal meetings. However, Matias Carnero insisted that the Martorell factory had never been completely ruled out: “Jürgen Stackmann only pointed out that even if it is not manufactured in Martorell, the new SUV will still have positive effects on SEAT’s operating results”, explained Carnero. SEAT is one of the automation brands manufacturing its products in Greater Barcelona, which is one of this indutry’s main clusters in southern Europe.


In any case, this Tuesday, Matias Carnero is flying to Austria to attend a meeting between the company directors and the trade union representatives. He will continue defending the Martorell plant as the most competitive to produce this new vehicle.

Martorell, currently operating at 75 % of its total production capacity, has “better infrastructures”

According to the trade union representatives, the Catalan factory “is better located, has better infrastructures, has increased productivity and designed new flexibility measures that have yet to be used”, ranking it above the Czech plant. Carnero explained that if this new vehicle was produced in Catalonia, it would further consolidate the current workforce and create more jobs in a plant that is presently operating at 75 % of its total production capacity only.

Lower labour costs do not necessarily amount to lower manufacturing costs

Despite acknowledging the lower labour costs in the Skoda plant, Carnero defended the qualifications and experience of the Catalan workers, “which has nothing in common with Skoda”. He recalled a similar decision having occurred in 2001, when the management chose to move the production of the Seat Ibiza to Bratislava, where, although the labour costs were lower, the overall manufacturing costs proved to be more expensive. “There are other costs to be taken into account, apart from labour costs, for instance infrastructure or logistics”, explained Carnero.

SEAT to enter the lucrative SUV market

Carnero agreed with the President of SEAT Jürgen Stackmann by stressing that the latest model was particularly significant because it would enable to open a new market niche, the urban Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV). Until now, SEAT had not manufactured any such vehicles, which have been met with increasing demand amongst drivers.

Carnero stated that whatever the final decision may be, workers would obviously respect it and that that the SEAT trade unions in Martorell would continue defending the production of new vehicles. He expects the final decision will not be made public before some time and believes that the production of the new SUV will not start before 2016 or 2017.

SHARE

  • SEAT's factory in Martorell (by E. Romagosa)

  • SEAT's factory in Martorell (by E. Romagosa)