Business 01/10/2021

The automotive industry urges Sánchez to activate European funds for the sector

Manufacturers expect the sector to recover by 2023

2 min
Pedro Sánchez, Felip VI and the president of Automobile, Enric Lacalle, at the Fair.

The Association of Automobile and Truck Manufacturers (Anfac), the sector's employers' association, has urged the President of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, to implement the Strategic Project for the Recovery and Economic Transformation (PERTE) for the automotive sector. The plan seeks to mobilise an investment of €24bn between 2021 and 2023, of which €4.3bn will come from the state. This PERTE depends on attracting European Next Generation funds for the sector, and among the projects it includes is manufacturing batteries for electric cars in Spain.

The president of Anfac, José Vicente de los Mozos, said in a meeting with journalists at Automobile Barcelona fair, that they are still waiting for the regulations to be published, despite requesting it repeatedly, while other European countries have already announced their plans for the conversion of the automotive sector. The board of Anfac has met with Pedro Sánchez taking advantage of the Barcelona fair. De los Mozos has complained that manufacturers still do not know the details, and has been clear: "The clock is ticking". Pedro Sánchez, however, has promised to have the PERTE ready before the end of this year.

Sánchez also took advantage of his presence at the show to announce the launch of a Moves plan to support the purchase of electric cars for large fleets (500 units or more), with a budget of €50m. In addition, another programme will provide €100m for innovative electric mobility projects, and a third will provide between €400-800m in direct aid for sustainable mobility

On the other hand, Sánchez announced the creation of a platform to monitor the deployment of recharging points in Spain, which will be a joint governance body between public administrations and the automotive sector. This platform will evaluate existing problems and "the pace needed to deploy infrastructures, both electric and hydrogen", as reported by the Spanish government. The proposal was very well received by the employers' association, which considers charging infrastructure a key element to promote electric cars in Spain.

Among the manufacturers present at the Fair, the problems in the supply of semiconductors are of concern. Anfac has revised its forecasts for car sales in Spain this year to 900,000 (the previous forecast was 925,000), a figure 25% lower than sales in 2019, before covid, and it does not expect a recovery in sales or production until 2023.

Seat exceeds forecasts

Despite manufacturing problems, Seat – which has workers on furlough – already has reached a precovid level of sales and its subsidiary Cupra has already turned over €1.3bn since January, when it had forecast €1bn for the whole calendar year, according to the company's president, Wayne Griffiths. In addition, the company will start selling the Cupra Born (100% electric) in November, with which it hopes to double Cupra sales, thus representing a third of Seat's total sales by 2022.

The lack of semiconductors also affects other manufacturers. In Almussafes, Ford has announced an 33-day furlough between now and the end of the year due to the lack of chip supplies.

Nissan takes a hit over exit

The CEO of Nissan Iberia, Bruno Mattucci, has admitted that the closure of its Catalan factories has had an impact on sales in Catalonia. "We have to explain [to the consumer] that they are two separate things, that one is Nissan's global efficiency and production strategy, which has affected the [Barcelona] plant, and another is the marketing of products, which continues in Spain and Europe," Mattucci said.