Nissan to start production of new version of electric van in Barcelona
Japanese firm will stop making two models but this will not affect current workforce, company says
Car maker Nissan will start production of an improved version of its e-NV200 electric van in Barcelona. The factory will also continue to produce the pickup trucks it makes for brands like Renault and Mercedes Benz.
However, the firm also announced on Tuesday that it will stop producing the Pulsar and Evalia models at its Zona Franca plant in the Catalan capital. In a statement, the Japanese multinational said it was reorganizing production at the factory and would stop making the two vehicles from the second quarter of this year. The Pulsar is a saloon car and the Evalia is the passenger version of the company’s NV200 van, which will continue to be made at the plant. Nissan says it intends to keep its workforce of 4,000 employees, while starting the production of an improved version of the e-NV200 electric van.
According to Paul Wilcox, Nissan’s chairman in Europe, the decisions taken by the firm "are the result of a change in market demand from European customers". Wilcox also pointed out a "new trend" that leads them "to strengthen" their "leadership position in the segment of electric and crossover vehicles.” In the last tax year (April 2016-March 2017), Nissan’s Barcelona plant produced some 110,000 vehicles, of which 87.5% were exported.
Unions warned back in June about the low productivity in the Zona Franca plant, which they attributed to “a lack of industrial planning”. The fall in production affected above all the Pulsar, which the plant began making in 2014. The firm originally planned to make some 80,000 Pulsar cars a year, but poor sales saw the company reduce expectations to 30,000 units.