Volkswagen's battery factory in Spain will not be located in Catalonia, but Valencia
Catalan government lobbied for months to prevail in race to have facility
Catalan government lobbied for months to prevail in race to have facility
German carmaker's plans subject to governmental support foreseeing production from 2025
Former head of sales has ambitions to make electric vehicle in Catalonia
Italian executive Luca de Meo leaves top spot at Martorell-based automaker "at his own request"
SEAT President, Jürgen Stackmann, has shown "great optimism" for the future competitiveness of the company's plant in Martorell (Greater Barcelona). In early May, the Volkswagen group, to which SEAT belongs, announced it will invest €4.2 billion in two of its factories, those in Catalonia and Navarra, over the next four years. The investment will be used to upgrade the existing facilities and increase competitiveness, in order to assemble a greater number of models. However, it was not disclosed how this billionaire investment will be split among the two factories. During a conference held on Wednesday in Barcelona, Stackmann did not say how much of this investment would go toward the Catalan plant. The SEAT president said the company is changing its focus toward a more mature, adult market across Europe in order to cement the future success of the carmaker.
The German car manufacturer has announced massive investment in two of its factories in Spain: its plant located in Martorell (Greater Barcelona) and its factory in Navarra. In particular, Volkswagen expressed its intention to invest €4.2 billion between 2015 and 2019 in what many newspapers have called "the largest industrial investment ever made in Spain". According to estimates made by the Catalan Business and Employment Minister Felip Puig, it is likely that more than half of the total investment will be concentrated on the plant in Martorell, which builds Seat cars as well as models from other brands of the Volkswagen group such as Audi. In a meeting with the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Volkswagen Global Sales Vice President, Javier García Sanz, stated that the two plants that will receive the multibillion investment are among "the best factories of the Group".
The 38th edition of the Barcelona International Motor Show (SIAB) will be held between 9 and 17 May at the Montjuïc venue of the Catalan capital's trade fair. This year, the event will host at least 38 brands and others could be added in the following weeks. This is the biggest number since the economic crisis started. According to Mario Armero, ANFAC Executive Vice President, "the show coincides with a clear recovery of the sector, where 2-digit growth rates have been registered in sales, production and exports volumes". Organised by Fira de Barcelona, SIAB is the only motor show in Spain recognised by the International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. The coming edition will also coincide with the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix, transforming the Catalan city into the world's motor capital for a few days.
This year at the Mobile World Congress one of the most discussed trends is the Internet of Things (IoT): everyday objects that are connected to the internet and which are able to control other machines. Although some of these implements do not yet have a direct application on the consumer market, the automobile sector is already selling vehicles with these functionalities. Smart cars can be controlled with a smartphone, for example, by creating a temporary digital key to access the car, and can also enable other devices in the home.
The Barcelona-based car manufacturer Seat, which is part of the Volkswagen group, ended 2014 with a 10% growth in sales. During last year, Seat sold 390,500 vehicles worldwide, which are produced in its factory in Martorell (Greater Barcelona). This plant increased production by 13.5%, reaching its highest level for 12 years. The factory has now achieved 5 consecutive years of growth. The company’s shining light during 2014 was the León model, sales of which increased by 50%, reaching 154,100 units sold, breaking its sales record. This type of car has become “the brand’s second pillar” after the Seat Ibiza, stated the company’s President, Jürgen Stackmann. During the last 2 years, Seat global sales have grown by 21.7%, surpassing their 2007 pre-crisis levels.
The new SUV model of SEAT, which is part of the Volkwagen Group, will be produced in the Czech Republic rather than in the Martorell plant despite being entirely designed in the SEAT Technical Centre in Martorell (Greater Barcelona), according to sources from the German car manufacturer. The company justified the decision because of "lower production costs" at the Czech Skoda plant. The news that the manufacturing of the model will be moved away from Barcelona has come as a blow to the CCOO trade union, which has expressed its regret that the Catalan factory has lost the opportunity to have a secure workload for the coming years. CCOO has suggested that the Martorell plant requires a business plan to ensure the allocation of new models.
Barcelona-based SEAT, which is part of the Volkswagen Group, has chosen the Geneva Motor Show to introduce its new vehicle in the Leon range, the cars whose sales increased the most in 2013, with a total of 102,000 units sold. This latest creation is the new Leon Cupra, by far the most powerful and the fastest vehicle manufactured by the Catalan company, whose main factory is located in Martorell (Greater Barcelona). With its 280 horsepower, this sports model will hit the market in both 5-door and 3-door versions. Coinciding with the opening of the event this Tuesday, SEAT also presented the Mango version of its Mii city car, a special edition resulting from the collaboration between designers at the SEAT Martorell plant and the Catalan fashion multinational which includes, amongst other novelties, exclusive paintings in beige and black.
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.
Barcelona-based SEAT, which is part of the Volkswagen group, sold 355,000 vehicles last year, representing a 10.6% increase on 2012 figures. The Catalan brand has not sold so many cars since 2008. The SEAT Leon car model was the company’s strongest asset, with 102,000 cars purchased in 2013, which is a 44% sales increase on the previous year. SEAT’s President, Jürgen Stackmann, highlighted “the commercial impetus” that the company currently has, “especially in Europe, when in a market context of sales drop, SEAT is growing faster than its competitors”. In Western Europe, which is the brand’s main market, the Catalan company increased sales by 9.4%, selling 273,200, 23,500 more cars than in 2012.