The Seat-Volkswagen group made it official yesterday that it accepts the aid of 397 million assigned by the Perte del automobile and continues with its investment project, which includes the Sagunt battery factory. “It is a historic step”, declared the CEO of Seat, Wayne Griffiths, who however warned that there will be new chapters of negotiation to confirm more aid.
“It is a first step and, now, we will continue looking for solutions to develop our ambitious electrification plan”, advanced Griffiths. The Ministry of Industry is already analyzing possible routes, while the affected autonomous communities – Catalonia, Valencia and Navarra – could contribute some 150 million.
The project, he added, is “an example of the firm commitment to Spain and Europe”. “Seventy years ago Seat put Spain on wheels. Now we will put Spain on electric wheels”, he emphasized. There are 10,000 million of planned investment, of which 7,000 million would be contributed by Seat-VW and the rest by the 60 partners that accompany it in the Fast Future Forward project.
In the Martorell plant, where the future compact electric model will be manufactured for various brands of the consortium, Seat will invest 3,000 million. The same amount as in the Sagunt battery plant, while in Navarra some 1,000 million will be invested, also to manufacture electric vehicles.
In the words of the CEO, with the development of the Small BEV platform (the one with the smallest electric model in the group) “access to sustainable mobility in Europe with electric cars made in Spain will be democratized.”
"This plan will drive the transformation of our industry and help create thousands of new jobs and keep the country competitive," Griffiths insisted.
Along the same lines, Matías Carnero, president of the works council and member of the VW supervisory board, spoke. In his opinion, “this is the first stone to electrify Spain”. “It is good news. He ensures the electrification of Martorell and Landaben and the commitment to Sagunto. Now we have to focus on making electric cars, ”he told Efe. He insisted, however, that Martorell needs a second, larger manufacturing platform to guarantee the maintenance of employment.
With the acceptance of the Perte, a chapter of a tense negotiation between the Spanish Government, Seat and Volkswagen is closed with an agreement that avoids a resounding failure of the first relevant allocation of Next Generation European funds. The withdrawal of SEAT's investment would have undoubtedly caused great reputational damage to Spain. However, according to sources in the sector, one chapter has been closed, but there are others that are still open and that will have to be solved as the investment develops.
The ten projects that were assigned aid from the Perte (strategic plan for the transformation and recovery of the economy) have confirmed their plans, only pending now that they present the corresponding bank guarantees for the same amount of aid that they are going to receive. . Among them, the so-called decarbonization hub stands out, the main industrial offer that has been found to replace Nissan in the facilities of the Free Zone. The hub consortium, led by QEV and BTech, has allocated aid amounting to 108 million for the manufacture of different types of electric vehicles.
Seat's confirmation immediately caused numerous reactions of satisfaction. The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, linked the decision to "the extraordinary potential that Spain has, to the confidence that the country arouses in large international companies and foreign investors", and also to the "government's success in its economic and of modernization”.
The president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, also welcomed the decision, although he spared no criticism of the central government, whom he accused of having promised aid that later ended up being much less. According to what he said, when he found out about the low figures assigned by Perte, he saw "this investment in danger", which if it had been frustrated would have caused the "fall of a good part of the automobile industry in Catalonia". "This has changed somewhat in recent days, they have increased somewhat (aid), a little, not much more," he insisted.
Aragonès assured that there are letters from ministers of the central Executive "committing sums that have not been produced later."