Chinese Automaker Chery to Produce Electric Vehicles in Barcelona

China's Chery Automobile partners with Spain's Ebro-EV Motors to set up its first European factory in Barcelona, creating 1,000 jobs and boosting the region's electric vehicle production.

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Waqas Arain
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Chinese Automaker Chery to Produce Electric Vehicles in Barcelona

Chinese Automaker Chery to Produce Electric Vehicles in Barcelona

China's Chery Automobile has reached an agreement with Spain's Ebro-EV Motors to set up its first European factory in the former Nissan plant in Barcelona's Zona Franca industrial zone. The deal, announced on Monday, will see the two companies establish a joint venture, with Ebro holding a majority stake, to manufacture Chery's Omoda brand electric vehicles.

The move is part of the Spanish government's efforts to re-industrialize the Zona Franca area after Nissan's departure in 2021. Many of the 700 former Nissan workers will be employed at the new facility, which is expected to create 1,000 jobs. Production is slated to begin by the end of 2024.

Chery is the second Chinese carmaker to expand into Europe, following BYD's announcement last week to build a factory in Hungary. The deal comes amid growing tensions between Beijing and Brussels over Chinese subsidies for electric vehicles and other green technologies.

Why this matters: The Chery-Ebro deal marks a significant step in China's push into the European electric vehicle market. It also highlights the increasing competition faced by established European automakers from Chinese rivals, who are expanding their presence on the continent.

The agreement was closed in the Chinese city of Wuhu by Ebro CEO Pedro Calef and Guibing Zhan, vice president of Chery, with the participation of Catalan business minister Roger Torrent. Torrent hailed the deal as part of the re-industrialization of Catalonia, moving towards clean, modern, and sustainable electric mobility.

Chery's Omoda electric vehicle brand has already started selling units in Spain, and the Zona Franca production will allow it to manufacture locally for the European market and access Spanish economic assistance. The Spanish government has announced plans to open tenders this year for companies to request a total of 1.7 billion euros in loans and grants for electric vehicle production under the PERTE scheme, which uses EU pandemic relief funds.

The Chery-Ebro joint venture is expected to help recover part of the 1,600 direct jobs lost when Nissan shut down its Barcelona plant in 2021. "The agreement is great news for Nissan workers and the entire automotive industry in Catalonia," said Torrent. "It demonstrates the strength and potential of the sector in our country."

Key Takeaways

  • Chery Automobile to set up first European factory in former Nissan plant in Barcelona.
  • Chery and Ebro-EV Motors to establish a joint venture, with Ebro holding majority stake.
  • New facility expected to create 1,000 jobs, with many former Nissan workers employed.
  • Chery is second Chinese carmaker to expand into Europe after BYD's Hungary factory.
  • Deal part of Spain's efforts to re-industrialize Zona Franca area after Nissan's departure.