Vietnam, Turkey and even Egypt will build their own electric cars. Why not Spain?

From next year, electric cars will be manufactured in Egypt through a state-owned company, El-Nasr Automotive Manufacturing Co. Leaders of Africa’s second-largest economy are negotiating with three companies to form an association. With a price close to 17,500 euros, it is estimated that half of its customers will be taxis and fleets.

The Egyptians will also create a new energy company that will manage charging points, starting with 3,000 points in the cities of Cairo and Alexandria. 40% of the company’s shares will be open to the private sector, 10% to El-Nasr and the rest to a government entity. In addition, the Chinese Dongfeng Motors plans to manufacture 25,000 electric cars a year on Egyptian soil, after signing an agreement with the local authorities last year.

It’s yet another example of how emerging economies are trying to carve out a place for themselves on the automotive scene by combining policies that limit competition – tariff and trade barriers – and encourage local investment to break through said barriers. Vietnam does it with VinFast, although it is a private company, and Turkey with TOGG Yerli Otomobil. These companies have received support from their respective governments.

Hispanic Swiss Carmen

And what about Spain?

Well, the answer isn’t exactly short. At present, we have hardly any manufacturers whose majority capital is in Spanish hands. During the Franco dictatorship, Spain first isolated itself from the world, during the period of autarky, then timidly opened up to foreign capital. This was the origin of SEAT, FASA Renault, Citroën, Authi and many others. Later, already in democracy, Ford arrived (actually returned), General Motors, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, etc.

Currently, all major manufacturers are in the hands of large foreign companies, some have remained in disgraced national factories, see Ebro or Pegaso, and others have been created from scratch. The private Spanish car manufacturing initiative has repeatedly faced the harsh reality of business, although there have been relevant successes such as Barreiros or Hispano-Suiza.

It also happened that the Spanish initiative had its bad apples, and some tracked down the subsidy and ended up in Cochin China with millions of public money. For example, Izaro Motors was like a flame, it came and went quickly at the beginning of the last decade without making a single car, and even the press officer – a very young Mario Herraiz – stood like a lamppost without know nothing about the matter. To promise, they had even promised an electric car…

The big Spanish manufacturers are already producing electric cars and plug-in hybrids, and they have to allocate more production to our factories so that they maintain the workload -another thing is the number of employees-

Silence S01

Today the independent Spanish industry manufactures small volumes or ultra-limited series, for example Tramontana, Hurtan or the current Hispano Suiza. On the other hand, there are some manufacturers of light vehicles, such as Silence or eezon (from VMS Automotive), or much larger vehicles, such as Urovesa or Irizar.

Given the current situation, it is difficult for a large industrialist to appear on our soil from the private or public national initiative. It’s more likely that the foundations are being laid to attract foreign investment, such as when an attempt was made to entertain Elon Musk to get Tesla to set up its European Gigafactory in Spain – which ended up in Germany.

Currently, the biggest attempt to lure manufacturers to Spanish soil is the electromobility hub being developed in Barcelona, ​​after Great Wall said “no thanks” to the public consortium that has managed the Free Zone since Nissan’s farewell after 40 years. The Chinese wanted more production capacity and more facilities, and the Spanish government and the Generalitat de Catalunya tried to be generous in this regard.

Egypt, Turkey or Vietnam are a little more virgin than Spain, which remains the second car manufacturer in Europe, and one of the 10 worldwide. The basics for being there were the same: a policy that forced foreigners to settle here, with conditions, government interventions, facilities, etc. Out of this mud came great buildings.

Spain is now attractive for its competitiveness rather than its low costs, and the threats to our industry come from the African Maghreb or very low-wage Eastern European countries. It has great assets, such as a more than established supplier base, an experienced workforce, transport and communication infrastructure, etc.

There was a time when Spain was a developing country, which would have bled to death in armed conflicts – in this case, an internal one – and which had an insufficient domestic market. But with the right policies, the fruits came. In other words, Spain was also at the time – saving the differences – an almost virgin land where it was beginning to be interesting to inject money to manufacture cars.

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