The closure of the Nissan factory in Barcelona is hardly a surprise | Lluis Gene/AFP via Getty Images
Spain’s government lashes out at Nissan over Barcelona factory closure
The government thought the factory’s future was ‘guaranteed.’
Updated 5/28/20, 10:40 PM CET
Nissan said Thursday it would close its plant at Barcelona’s Zona Franca, threatening about 3,000 jobs and triggering a scramble among politicians to figure out a contingency plan.
Nissan’s Chief Executive Makoto Uchida confirmed the closure during a video press conference on Thursday, in which he announced sweeping restructuring. That’s a major blow for Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who had insisted earlier this year that the factory’s future was “guaranteed.”
“We considered various measures in Barcelona and although it was a very difficult decision we intend to close the plant,” said Uchida.
On Wednesday, Nissan agreed a new cooperation program with Renault that will see the French carmaker take the lead in Europe as the whole auto industry grapples with expensive shifts in electromobility and autonomous driving systems, as well as the impact of the pandemic.
The closure of the Barcelona factory, which dates back to 1920 but has only been owned by Nissan since 1980, is hardly a surprise. The site had been operating far below its maximum capacity since 2012 and concerns over its viability increased months ago when Nissan cut 600 jobs to reduce costs.
However, Nissan said it will keep open its Sunderland factory in the U.K.,