Great Wall is in talks to acquire Nissan’s plant in Spain

Nissan announced last year that it would cease operations in Barcelona

Spanish and Nissan authorities will begin talks with China’s Great Wall Motor about a possible takeover of the Japanese carmaker’s plant in Barcelona, which is due to close in December, they said on Friday.

National and regional authorities, along with Nissan, have also chosen Spanish electric motorbike maker Silence and local engineering firm QEV Technologies, which runs an electric vehicle manufacturing centre integrated by Swedish manufacturers Inzile and Volta, to negotiate the fate of the two smaller plants.

Nissan’s three plants in Barcelona employ about 3,000 people directly and 20,000 indirectly. But only 1,600 jobs are at stake as the remaining workers will benefit from early retirement and other measures, a CGT union source told Reuters.

The source said Great Wall was interested in the larger plant and would explore whether it could be used for the other two, while Silence and QEV Technologies were only interested in the smaller plants.

“We are convinced that we can find solutions that will benefit everyone,” Nissan’s industrial manager in Spain, Frank Torres, said in a statement.

Last year Nissan, which dealt a serious blow to Spain, Europe’s second-largest carmaker, will close three of its plants in Barcelona amid a global restructuring.

It initially said the plants would close by December 2020, but the date was later pushed back a year as they began looking for an alternative industrial project with the authorities.

Great Wall Motor has not released its plan for the plants, but a source familiar with the negotiations said the company could save about 1,300 jobs.

A project submitted by Belgian carmaker Punch for Nissan factories has been ruled out of the upcoming talks, although officials have said no option has been completely ruled out.

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