By Damon Mitchell • 20 September 2020 • 15:05
THE plants of the Japanese car manufacturer Nissan in Barcelona are under pressure to triple work as they are set to stop producing vehicles definitively on December 31, 2021.
However, the factory has already begun to show signs of why they have come to that decision, such as low production or lack of demand. Faced with this scenario, Japan has begun to press for assembly levels to increase in the last year of the factory’s life.
This has been confirmed by sources, who have indicated that “the company will meet in the coming weeks to normalise production levels at the Barcelona factory with the aim of tripling the pace of work to meet the demands of Japan.
Employees at the Barcelona plant are under pressure to triple work and increase the number of assemblies to 128 units per day from the second week of October, since on those dates the conflict between Acciona – the main subcontractor in the Zona Franca -, which has caused the factory to work at the lowest levels in its history, will be over.
Zona Franca or Free economic zone, is the term used to designate areas in which companies are taxed very lightly or not at all to encourage economic activity.
Since the factory of the Japanese firm in Barcelona’s Zona Franca started up on September 31, barely 40 vehicles a day have been produced, far from the 160 units that were assembled in March before the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
In addition, they explain that “the factory has restarted its activity with the lowest production in history with the assembly of only 40 units per day.” They assure that “the Zona Franca had never dropped below the level of 160 vehicles a day, but the drop in demand and the lack of orders have sunk production in just a couple of months.”
However, the Catalan factory of the Japanese manufacturer has not operated at full capacity for years and has been down for four years with a historical production collapse. In 2016, Nissan Barcelona assembled 105,442 cars, which translates into 53 per cent of the capacity of the Zona Franca, falling to 27.7 per cent in 2019, when it assembled 55,405 units.
From Nissan they explained that this cut was produced by an excess of stock and could recover part of the production if demand increases.
One of the many promises that the Japanese car manufacturer did not fulfil: “The lack of response and lack of definition of the company for years has led the workers to an unsustainable situation until causing the end of production in the Free Trade Zone,” say knowledgeable sources of the situation.
For its part, Japan has confirmed that production forecasts in Barcelona will not exceed 21 per cent in 2020 and estimate that the Free Trade Zone will produce (in the best case) 42,000 cars this year, far from the 200,000 units per year for the that the factory has capacity.
A scenario that has aggravated the impact of the coronavirus crisis in the automotive sector since last March.
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As frontman of a rock band Damon used to court the British press, now he lives the quiet life in Spain and seeks to get to the heart of the community, scoring exclusive interviews with ex-pats about their successes and struggles during their new life in the sun.
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