Nissan has called again for increased manufacturing flexibility and competitiveness from its European production plants as a precondition for attracting investment.
 
Nissan corporate vice-chairman Simon Sproule has met with Jose Montilla, the head of the government of the Spanish region of Catalonia, and made the remarks afterwards.
 
Sproule said that Nissan will not assign production to plants in more developed economies unless these plants increase their flexibility and competitiveness.
 
Mr Sproule has also said that the future prospects of Barcelona’s Zona Franca district were ‘no different’ to those of other plants in developed economies.


The Catalan government is attempting to reduce job losses at its car plants.


Nissan has hinted that it could drastically reduce its Barcelona operations in 2012 if planned job cuts are not approved, arguing that the plant’s labour costs and absenteeism rates are too high to make it competitive. Nissan plans to dismiss 1,700 workers.


“We are not going to negotiate anything until a clear future plan is on the table,” Enrique Saludas, secretary general of union Sigen-Usoc, told just-auto last month, following the first meeting between Nissan and unions to discuss the issue.


The site’s future looks increasingly murky as the lifecycle of the Navara, Pathfinder and a van model line ends in 2012.  Already, Nissan expects to cut production to 109,000 units from 180,000 planned this year in Spain on the back of sluggish global sales.


See also: EXCLUSIVE: SPAIN: Nissan hints exit as unions demand answers