Jorge Palacios

Jorge
Palacios
Correspondent,
WardsAuto

Based in Madrid, Jorge writes about Spain's auto makers, suppliers and new-vehicle market.

Articles
SEAT Not Sitting Still After 10% Sales Gain in 2014 
SEAT sold 304,000 vehicles in Western Europe in 2014, up 11.3%, with Germany, Spain and the U.K. being its major markets.
Opel Eyes 25% Production Boost at Spain Plant in 2015 
Output could reach 400,000 units this year, compared with the 2014 total of 319,000 – a 14% improvement over 2013. Figuerelas’s capacity is 450,000 units.
PSA Plant in Spain Lands Major LCV Assembly Program
The Vigo plant was awarded the K9 program in part because of union concessions, including a 2-tier wage structure, that lowered labor costs relative to a competing PSA plant in Slovakia.
Spanish Auto Market Pulling Out of Long-Standing Rut 
Dealer profits will average only 1% in 2014, but by contrast, six of 10 dealers lost money just two years ago, industry spokesman Juan Sanchez says.
Suzuki Aiming to Shed Bit Player’s Role in Spain 
Suzuki will finish the year with about 2,700 deliveries, down 88% from its high-water mark of 22,051 in 2007, but the automaker’s Spanish sales chief expects nothing less than a near-50% sales surge in 2015.
SEAT’s Russian Exit Not Slowing Spain Plant’s Output 
SEAT union officials hope to make up the capacity shortfall at Martorell by landing both a smaller version of an upcoming CUV awarded to a Czech Republic plant and the new Audi A1 now being assembled in Brussels.
Toyota Spain Dealer Profits Lag Sales Gains, CEO Says 
CEO Jacques Pieraerts projects 2015 sales of 47,000 vehicles, a 10% improvement over 2014. He pegs the increase to hybrids’ share of Toyota Spain’s overall volume rising to 27%.
Mercedes’ Metris Van Sits Out Game of Tariff Chicken 
By labeling the Metris vans passenger MPVs, Daimler hopes to avoid a 25% duty on commercial vehicles imposed by the U.S. 50 years ago in retaliation for a German tariff on poultry imports.
Fifth-Gen Corsa Keeps Opel in European B-Segment Game 
GM Spain General Manager Enrico de Lorenzi says the Zaragoza plant will build 285,000 units in 2014, but the launch of the fifth-gen Corsa and the Mokka CUV will raise 2015 output to 400,000, approaching maximum capacity of 450,000.
Spanish Automakers’ Craving for Subsidies Continues 
After funds for consumer subsidies ran out in late October, the industry asked to continue the assistance through year-end, saying sales would collapse – until the newest version of the program takes effect in 2015.
PSA’s Spanish Van Plant Pushes for Wage Cuts 
Management at the Vigo facility is demanding drastic pay cuts in exchange for a commitment to build revamped Berlingo/Partner vans. But labor unions don’t appear to be taking the threat to move production seriously.
New-Gen Skoda Fabia Advances VW’s MQB Architecture 
Four gasoline and three diesel engines are available in the new Fabia, all of them Euro 6 compliant and equipped with standard stop/start and brake-energy-recovery systems.
Whistleblowing Automaker Sparks Spain Pricing Probe 
Some analysts speculate VW Group anticipated an investigation and suggested to SEAT that it take the initiative and alert regulators. They note the Spanish automaker has lost more than €1.5 billion since 2005 but is seeing sales recover.
LCV Concept Fleshes Out Iveco’s Dual Energy System 
The concept’s fully automated load management uses sensors that identify the goods and then indicate the correct positioning of the different parcels within the vehicle interior.
Nissan Spain Adds Workers, Shifts to Meet LCV Demand 
Nissan has achieved a 6% share of the global LCV market, but manager Dany Boulenger believes the 8% target included in Nissan’s Power 88 business plan is within reach.
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