Editorial | Seat’s great opportunity

Brussels has given this week the definitive support for the transition from the automotive industry to the electric car go from being a promise to a reality in Spain. Plans to carry it out are not lacking, but it was necessary to confirm the economical support to get them started. And that push in the form of public money has finally arrived, with the approval by the European Commission of the strategic project for economic recovery and transformation (Loss) of the electric and connected car presented by the Spanish Government. The project will convey aid of 3,000 million euros, in charge of the Ministry of Industry, to which will be added 1,300 million euros more from other ministries. Y Seat is in a preferential position to take advantage of this great opportunity. The Volkswagen group’s commitment to electrify its plants in Martorell and Landaben (Navarra) it has been made explicit on multiple occasions, the last one, the same day that Brussels approved the Perte del car. At its annual conference, the German group reiterated its intention to assemble a compact electric model in the Catalan factory and an electric SUV in Navarra. In both cases, it conditioned him to receive the European aid that had just been authorized. Although the First Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, avoided on Friday committing the subsidy to the Spanish factories of the Volkswagen group, it is unlikely that these will not be made effective, being the project of the German consortium one of the most ambitious . The prudence of the vice-presidency can rather be attributed to respect of the procedure distribution of aid, based on equal treatment and transparency. On the other hand, there is little doubt about the institutional support that Seat has received at all levels, from the Government of the Generalitat to the central government, and even with an official visit from the King this year.

Electrifying the Seat plant in Martorell is vital to guarantee your future. And you have to do it now, to take one advantageous position in a nascent market. It was explained in an interview with this newspaper by the president of the company, Wayne Griffiths, last May. Green transition policies will push the combustion vehicle into a minority position. Therefore, although few electric cars are still sold, the large companies – in a race with multimillion-dollar investments – develop their plans with forecasts that by 2030 they represent more than half of sales. To reach this percentage, it is necessary to manufacture affordable cars and improve the infrastructure, with more charging points. It is a total transformation, involving not only conventional car manufacturers but also new players (battery manufacturers, power companies), from which interesting collaborations are already emerging. Many business decisions, to invest in one country or another, depend on the facilities that they find.

The Government estimates that the 4,300 million of public aid to the automotive sector will generate 19,700 million euros of private investment, that is, almost five times more. An electrified plant would attract a whole ecosystem of high added value companies, with new professional profiles, which would mean a leap forward in competitiveness and employment. Catalonia has the ability to become that pole of attraction of the new automotive, with Seat as standard bearer. In a successful phrase by Griffiths in the aforementioned interview, “the electric car project is not just for Seat, it is for the whole country.”


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