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Spain’s Ebro-EV Motors, China’s Chery Join Hands to Develop New Cars

Spain’s auto company Ebro-EV Motors and China’s Chery Automobile signed a pact on Friday to develop new electric vehicles through a joint venture in the northeastern Spanish city of Barcelona.

Under the alliance, Chery will become the first Chinese automaker to produce vehicles in Europe, from Ebro’s facilities located at a former Nissan plant that closed in 2021. The joint venture in the Zona Franca port area of Barcelona will create 1,250 jobs and is projected to produce 50,000 vehicles in 2027, which will triple to 150,000 in 2029.

“This agreement for the joint production of vehicles by two brands is much more than a major business project (…) it is also a symbol of the reindustrialization process that Catalonia and the whole of Spain are undergoing,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said at an official event marking the alliance.

“It is not common to witness the rebirth of an iconic brand and today we all share a feeling of joy,” Sanchez said. “Ebro is part of the collective memory of the whole of Spanish society, who had the brand’s trucks, vans and tractors that they worked with for many years.”

He stressed that the agreement “will translate into the production of wealth and the generation and maintenance of employment.”

The automotive sector, Sanchez said, “is an industry that is central for the proper functioning of the Spanish economy.” He noted that the agreement is part of “a genuine nationwide commitment to smart and sustainable mobility,” which is hoped to “turn Spain into a major European electromobility hub.”

Spain, which exported 87 percent of its automotive production last year, is the second-largest automobile producing country in Europe and the eighth-largest exporter in the world, Sanchez said. It has 17 automotive factories in 10 regions, 15 technology centers and 10 clusters.

“We also have a powerful ecosystem of more than 1,000 automotive-related companies, belonging to 720 large business groups that directly employ more than 230,000 people in the automotive manufacturing sector,” he added.

Present at Friday’s event are: Chinese Ambassador to Spain Yao Jing, Spanish Minister of Industry and Tourism Jordi Hereu, deputy governor Shan Xiangqian of the eastern Chinese province of Anhui — where Chery is based, president of the Catalonian government Pere Aragones, as well as Ebro’s CEO Pedro Calef and Chery’s executive vice president Zhang Guibing.

Shan said the implementation of Chery’s project in Spain will benefit the Chinese and Spanish peoples. “We hope the agreement marks a new starting point and deepens cooperation with Spain in areas such as advanced manufacturing and technological innovation.”

Ebro’s Calef said the fourth quarter of this year will see the start of production of Chery’s Omoda 5, the brand’s first electric model, as well as a combustion model. Two SUV models are also expected at the end of the year from Ebro made with technology shared with Chery.

Chery’s Zhang remarked that the two companies are combining their advantages to “make something like a newborn.” “We are working together to design new models, which will also be distributed from this joint company.”