Sunday, October 1

The car industry was looking forward to the Perte VEC 2. Now it has a problem: the elections

In April 2021, my colleague Enrique Pérez pointed out all the projects that were expected to invest the 70,000 million euros of the Recovery Plan that arrived from Europe. Of all the variables, the car It formed an essential piece when distributing the money.

It must be borne in mind that the automotive industry is key for Spain. According to data from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, this industry represents 10% of Spanish GDP and 18% of its exports. In 2021 it was the ninth country that produced the most vehicles and the second in Europe.

With these figures on the table, it was to be expected that part of the European funds would be devoted to modernize our plants of automobiles, with the aim of attracting new investment and maintaining the manufacturers that are already established in our country. It is a challenge just when China and the United States are betting very strongly to take the production of vehicles to their land.

The Spanish industry is in a difficult decision. The vast majority of the work is done on assembly lines which, with the advent of the electric car, is becoming the weakest link in the chain. For this reason, the arrival of successive aid plans is important, with the aim of modernizing spaces, investing in research and development and consolidating Spain as an electric car hub.

Part 2, your situation

The first parts They had a clear winner: Volkswagen. The aid was key for the manufacturer to fully decide to build its battery plant in Sagunto. Although he did not get all the money he expected, the economic line was essential to move the project forward.

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Mercedes, Opel, Renault or Stellantis, among others, also received an economic boost to improve their facilities in our country. However, since they were launched, some manufacturers criticized the deadlines to have their projects ready in the next few years, pointing out that these were too short and unrealistic. Ford, for example, rejected the money that had been granted, alleging that its production plans in Spain were delayed.

Since then, manufacturers, managers and politicians Local authorities have pressured the Government to launch a second call for these Perte VECs, with more flexible deadlines that increase the chances that companies will join the bandwagon of subsidies.

The Government planned to launch the Perte VEC 2 in June. Industry assures that the plans go ahead

The last to speak was Wayne Griffiths. The CEO of Seat has been very belligerent in recent months, assuring just a few days ago that the new call for Part 2 depends on Volkswagen’s investments for its future in Spain.

The automobile conglomerate’s plans involve creating a battery assembly plant within its facilities in Martorell. In this way, Volkswagen could control the entire battery production process, battery assembly and vehicle assembly in our country. Remember that Seat will be in charge of feeding the group of small electric vehicles through its Catalan assembly lines.

Stellantis also considers that its only option for its Vigo plant is the award of Part 2. The company anticipates tough adjustments on Galician soil but also hopes that Vigo will be a plant where it can produce platforms for electric vehicles from 2026. Some deadlines that left them out of the first line of aid, which contemplated projects to be carried out until 2025.

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Although these two projects have focused most of the eyes, other manufacturers are also pending the final requirements to access these subsidies. BYD has made it clear that Galicia or Asturias are valid lands to build its first factory in Europe.

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In addition, it has been emphasized that there will be a specific line of aid for the production of batteries. In Navalmoral de la Mata (Extremadura) they are awaiting this possibility and the easing of conditions, since they have already been left out of the first line of aid.

The question, now, is what will everything be with the advancement of the elections to July 23. In March, the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Héctor Gómez, already pointed out that this second aid package would be approved in June. But the search for a new executive in less than two months uncertainty has risen again.

Manufacturers demand urgency and, for now, the Ministry of Industry continues to reiterate that the deadlines point to its approval before the elections. The companies, for the moment, press and assure that the uncertainty is not good. Companies like Tata, which included Spain among their plans, could have preferred the United Kingdom, according to Bloomberg.

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