Nissan offers to postpone Barcelona plant closure

Automotive Industry

Source: Automotive News Europe, 2020-07-21

Nissan is willing to postpone until June 2021 the closure of its vehicle assembly and parts plants here, a top executive from the automaker said.

The decision to shut the plants and lay off around 3,000 workers was announced in May as part of Nissan's global turnaround plan, triggering protests by workers.

The plants are due to close by December 2020.

The postponement would depend on an agreement on compensation for laid-off workers and this would have to be reached before July 30 or early August when a negotiation period ends, Frank Torres, the head of Nissan's industrial operations in Spain, told reporters on Tuesday 21 July.

In exchange for an agreement Nissan would not conduct layoffs until the end of 2020, Torres said.

Nissan would have to stick to its original schedule if negotiations with unions do not advance, he said.

The postponement would give Spanish authorities time to find another company that could be interested in the plants, Torres said, adding that Nissan still saw no alternative to the plants' closure.

The Barcelona factory builds pickups and vans. Nissan plans to relocate production of the Navara pickup to South Africa, while a replacement for the e-NV200 electric van would be built at Renault's plant in Maubeuge, France, according to reports.

Petrochemicals giant Ineos has expressed an interest in taking over the plant to build the Grenadier SUV, its rival to the Land Rover Defender. The Nissan factory is set up for assembly of ladder-frame off-road vehicles, although Ineos has said buying Daimler's Smart factory in France is its favored option.

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