Volkswagen‘s Spanish unit Seat will invest EUR1.2bn to develop new car models and expand production at its biggest factory, Martorell in Barcelona, workers committee chief Matias Carnero told just-auto.

The investment will fund a third paint line at the 6m square-metre facility and complete an adjacent headquarters building, which will employ 600 people, Carnero said.

The money will also be used to convert the plant to build the redesigned Ibiza in 2008, produce a longer version of the recently launched Altea crossover, and build new variants of the Toledo, Carnerno added.

Seat has also earmarked an additional EUR803.7m for research and development, according to Carnero.

The investment shows that German parent Volkswagen “is betting on Seat’s future and wants to maintain the brand in Barcelona,” Carnero claimed.

His comments came before Seat meets unions on Wednesday (9 November) to negotiate a redundancy contract that will remove 1,346 workers from the Martorell payroll.

The scheme offers early retirement as well as job transfers for an unspecified number of workers, Carnero said.

Seat did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Ivan Castano