Spain’s Association of Automotive Suppliers (SERNAUTO), says its components industry suffered a setback in all its indicators in 2020, as a result of the crisis caused by the Coronavirus pandemic at a global level.

The automotive supplier sector had a turnover of EUR30.2bn (US$37bn), which was 15.7% less than in 2019.

Although the reduction was smaller than expected and lower than the fall in vehicle production, it is a step back to figures prior to 2015.

Despite the complex situation experienced in 2020, suppliers continued to allocate a high level of investment to R&D&I. In 2020, they invested 3.6% of their turnover in R&D&I, that is, a total of EUR1.07bn. This is three times the average of the industry average, maintains SERNAUTO.

In 2020, the sector employed a total of 344,500 people (directly and indirectly). Direct employment generated by the sector amounted to 212,500 jobs, 5.7% less than in 2019. This represents more than 10% of industrial employment in several Autonomous Communities.

In 2020, sector exports were EUR17.9bn, 13.8% less than in 2019, as a result of the severe drop in the global trade of automotive products caused by COVID-19. Exports account for almost 60% of the sector’s turnover. The supplier body added that strong export-oriented nature prevented the fall in turnover from being greater.

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As for turnover in the domestic market (EUR12.3bn), EUR7.74bn concerned the supply of equipment and components to vehicle manufacturers (-21.0%) and EUR4.56bn came from the spare parts market (-13.5%).

«These data show the strong impact the pandemic has had on our industry,” said SERNAUTO president, María Helena Antolin. “We have had to make great efforts, like many other companies, to adapt to the situation and try to maintain production and most of the jobs.

“This, together with the industrial and technological transformation we are facing, means our sector is going through a complex time and the support of the Administration is more necessary than ever for our country to continue being a benchmark in the automotive industry.”

Forecast for 2021:

According to the first estimates of SERNAUTO’s board, in 2021, turnover will increase by around 10% compared to 2020, but predictably, pre-pandemic levels will not be recovered until 2022. As regards employment, it is estimated suppliers will maintain 2020 job figures.

“As evidenced in our Strategic Agenda 2025, the automotive supplier industry is going through a critical time for its future,” added SERNAUTO MD, José Portilla.

“The 2020 data show the need to strengthen the entire automotive value chain, for which having European funds will be vital. The sector is synonymous with innovation and quality employment, a strategic sector for the Spanish economy and society, which we must all take care of and support together.”