Spanish car maker Seat has asked parent VW to shift full production of the Ibiza sports sedan to Martorell, Spain, as the move would bring significant savings to the VAG group, a trade union official told just-auto.com.

Seat management has presented VW with a plan that shows the Ibiza can be made more cheaply and efficiently in Martorell than in Bratislava, Slovakia, where 10% of production was transferred two years ago.

The scheme would save VW between €300-500 per unit on each of the estimated 20,000 cars that would go back into assembly in Spain, Seat workers' committee chief Matias Carnero said.

"We use less workers, have better technology and less expensive parts logistics. And these outweigh any savings from cheaper labour costs in Bratislava" he noted. "While Seat uses six workers per car in Bratislava we use only three."

Still, Carnero warned that the plan has to be approved during VW's next planning round (PR53) in October, and by a European VW union meeting scheduled for 28-29 September in Brussels.

The proposed transfer would be a boon for Martorell, which employs 16,000 workers to make the long-running Ibiza, as well as Seat's Leon, Toledo and Altea models.

"I don't know if we'll increase staff levels but we will definitely preserve the jobs we have now," Carnero said.

Ivan Castano