Chery to build cars in Spain (Update)

Chinese car manufacturer Chery wants to build cars in Spain, specifically in the former Nissan plant in Barcelona. It will be Chery’s first production facility in Europe.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez sees the partnership between Chery and Ebro-EV Motors as a ‘symbol for the reindustrialization’ of Catalonia and Spain as a whole. This brings life back to the industrial area in the “Zona Franca” industrial and logistics district.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sànchez standing between Pedro Calef (CEO EBRO) and Zhang Guibing (President of Chery International), signing the partnership /Evoke

Formerly Nissan

Nissan ceased production at its Barcelona plant at the end of 2021. That was also when the last example of the Nissan e-NV200 electric van rolled off the production line. The Japanese company started producing vehicles there in 1983 with the Nissan Patrol.

The production facility in Barcelona consists of three parts: the main plant in Zona Franca, a press shop in Montcada i Reixac, and facilities for frame and suspension construction in Sant Andreu de la Barca.

The site has a long tradition, as it was previously used for decades by Spanish commercial vehicle manufacturer Ebro, whose brand is now to be revitalized.

Omoda first

The joint venture between Ebro-EV Motors and Chery is set to create around 1,250 jobs. The joint venture aims to produce 50,000 vehicles per year by 2027, rising to 150,000 units per year from 2029.

The assembly of vehicles from the Chery brand Omoda will be the first to be ramped up this year, but no specific model has yet been named. At the end of the year, an electric all-wheel drive pick-up from the EV Motors brand Ebro will follow. The partners intend to invest 400 million euros in the revitalization of the former Nissan plant.

For years, the central and regional governments had been trying to create a center for electromobility in the “Zona Franca.” After several visits to China and lengthy negotiations, Ebro-EV Motors, which holds the majority stake in the joint venture, and the Catalan regional government finally decided in favor of Chery.

“Ebro is the first company to enter into a joint venture with a Chinese automotive company. Chery strengthens its European presence by manufacturing vehicles in the Zona Franca of Barcelona,” said Pedro Calef, CEO of Ebro.

“This joint venture will study the creation of an R&D center in Barcelona for certifications in the European market in the future. Ebro and Chery are totally committed to this plant. Today, we start on a brilliant path, and our goal is to produce 150,000 vehicles in 2029,” he added.

Chinese investments in Europe

Chery’s investment is the second major investment by a Chinese company in its own plant in Europe in a short space of time. Previously, the electric car manufacturer BYD  sealed a major project in Hungary.

SAIC, which currently only uses its British MG site for research and development, could soon follow suit but would like to manufacture in continental Europe again.

Chery announced its European launch in 2023 with three brands and a broad drive mix. The manufacturer published other info on this earlier: the Omoda 5 EV is a 4.40-meter-long SUV, already available on different European markets, Belux included.

Chery just announced the imminent arrival of a new, larger SUV, the Omoda 7. The press release says further details will be communicated soon.

The company’s portfolio includes cars with combustion engines, hybrid drives, and purely electric drives. Another product is Jaecoo, an off-road brand that is set to bring Land Rover-style SUVs to the market. The compact SUV Jaecoo 7 and the larger Jaecoo 8 have also been announced for launch in Europe. No further details of the technology have yet been released.

The Omoda E5 electric SUV is one of the cars Chery could assemble in Spain /Omoda


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