“ The Japanese ”. This was Nissan’s first advertising slogan when it landed in Spain. It gave a quality air to the product. The Japanese manufacturer joined Motor Ibérica, a company created in 1920 (now a hundred years ago), when the Spanish economy opened up and negotiated entry into the European Economic Community. It was the gateway for the Japanese company to the European market.
Once in the hands of Nissan, the company converted Motor Ibérica, which had been dedicated to manufacturing Ebro tractors and trucks. Its first launches, the Nissan Patrol and the Vanette van, led the company to market success. The Patrol – 196,000 units were produced – was the first car manufactured by Nissan in the Zona Franca, starting in 1983, while the Vanette began production in 1985. With the success of these products, the Japanese of Nissan were straightening the accounts of the company, at the same time as they were increasing their weight in the capital, to end up having total control of it.
After these models came, to replace them, a new minivan van, the Nissan Serena, which saw the light in 1992 (the year of the Olympic Games) and the Terrano totterreny, which began production in 1993 Then came the Tino (2000), the Primastar van (2005), the Pathfinder totterreny (2005), the pickup Navara (2005), the NV200 Evalia van (2009), the small tourism Pulsar (2014) and a new pickup marketed as Navara for Nissan, Alaskan for Renault and X-Class for Mercedes (2015).
In this story, only two cars were made, the Tino and the Pulsar, which were never very successful in the market. The Pulsar was the model to relaunch the brand after the financial crisis, but it stopped manufacturing earlier than expected, in the summer of 2018, because it did not meet market expectations. That marked the decline of the Japanese brand in the Free Trade Zone.
The plant reached its manufacturing record in 2006, with 184,000 units, but the financial crisis caused a drop in production. As a result of the crisis, difficult relations between the unions and the management of the company came together. Workers always refused on a double wage scale as a system to lower costs. In 2009, Nissan filed an employment regulation (ERO) file for a thousand employees, although in the end it was just under 700.
But the final kick came a year ago now, when Nissan introduced a new ERO for just under 600 workers. A cut in employment due to low production at the Zona Franca plant, which worked below 30% of its capacity. The loss of models happened: the multinational stopped producing the NV200 combustion engine, so the factory was relegated to making the electric version, with less market access. In addition, a cut in production of this model was announced and Mercedes advanced the end of the life of its pickup.
Nissan accounts in Spain also show this drop. The year ended March 2015 left red numbers, but closed 2016, 2017 and 2018 with profits exceeding $ 30 million each year. But in 2019 the losses reached 242 million due to the cost of the ERO.