During the Government’s first Perte VEC, a investment focused all eyes. Volkswagen, Sagunto and, on the rebound, Ford were in the industry’s spotlight. Finally, after a tug of war with the Government, the German group confirmed the installation of a battery factory in the Valencian Community.
Now it is Stellantis that everyone is watching closely. The huge automotive group is planning to produce more electric vehicles on Spanish soil and even build a battery gigafactory to support its current facilities. And in these plans, Vigo and Zaragoza fight to attract Stellantis’ money. One of them seems to be positioned in the lead.
Zaragoza, Vigo and Stellantis’ plans
For some time now, the plant Stellantis in Vigo He is not going through his best moment. So far in 2023, its assembly lines are struggling with an irregular supply that is promptly halting production. We can date the last time this has occurred in this same month of September.
The situation is not ideal, of course. In January, the union and company reached an agreement on the future of the plant. The factory, open since 1956, is immersed in a reconversion process. At the beginning of the year it was agreed that it would stop for up to 60 days throughout the year. An agreement that could be extended to a maximum of 75 days and extendable to 2024. Up to 5,000 permanent workers were affected by these decisions.
In addition, it was agreed that 100 people will lose their jobs in an ERE, prioritizing those over 59 years of age and creating the figure of the priority worker so, if the workforce is expanded, those laid off will be counted first. Then it was said that the Stellantis plant in Vigo was looking with some hope at the second call for the VEC loss, that could be a ball of oxygen for the future.
According to Stellantis, 600 million euros are needed to modernize the plant. In the first edition of the Perte VEC, the possibility of receiving state funds was rejected, as it forced companies to have their projects completed by 2025. Stellantis, however, did not want or could commit to this and spoke of extending its electricity plans to 2026. That is why the Perte VEC 2 was longed for.
But in the race to receive Stellantis investments, Zaragoza seems to have taken the lead. The plant Figueruelas will be in charge of producing the next Peugeot E-208, according to the company itself during the presentation of the new Peugeot E-3008. This summer, some tests were even carried out on the assembly lines. The Aragonese have the Citroën C3 Aircross, the Opel Crossland or the electric Opel Corsa on their assembly lines.
The decision is really important because talking about the new Peugeot E-208 is talking about using the new STLA Small platform that the automobile conglomerate will use to produce its smaller electric vehicles. Rumors pointing to Zaragoza as a key city in the production of these vehicles already sounded in April, when Automotive News pointed out that the conglomerate was considering this possibility.
But, in addition to the future products to be assembled on each assembly line, just as important as this is the receipt of a future gigafactory of batteries. Stellantis has let it slip for months that it was hesitating between Portugal and Spain to install it and it seems that Zaragoza will be the chosen one.
A few days ago, Expansión pointed out that Stellantis wants to get 200 million euros from the State to build these facilities. The concession rivals that received by Volkswagen, which managed to raise the amount above 360 million euros. The economic newspaper points out that the modernization of the Figueruelas assembly lines plus a new battery plant would be attracting a total investment of 4,000 million euros.
If we take the temperature with the local newspapers, everything seems to indicate that the climate is warming in Figueruelas and cooling in Vigo. In the Heraldo de Aragón they point out that the Autonomous Community is placing people who were already within the company, such as Antonio Cobo, who directed the Figueruelas plant for a decade, in favorable positions to negotiate with Stellantis.
If in Aragón there is a climate that invites optimism, the opposite happens in Vigo. In the Vigo Lighthouse, the lack of proactivity of local organizations, politicians and businessmen is denounced who, in their opinion, are passing up the opportunity to compete with Figueruelas for the next battery plant.
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Photo | Stellantis