Volkswagen gigafactory to bring 3,000 jobs to region

CAR manufacturer Volkswagen has chosen Valencia to locate its new factory for the production of electric car batteries, it was announced on Wednesday.

Announcement of new gigafactory to be located in Sagunto.

The town of Sagunto was chosen, beating other prospective locations in Aragón and Extremadura, after the company compared 100 different variables, such as logistical capacity, port facilities, qualified staff, and how quickly the new plant could be up and running.

The announcement was made by Seat president Wayne Griffiths, and president of the Seat administrative board, Thomas Schmall, during a press conference of the company results for 2021. Seat has been owned by the Volkswagen Group since 1986.

There will be a total investment in Spain of 7,000 million euros, both for the gigafactory and the development of electric cars in the company’s plants in Martorell and Pamplona.

If the plans for the battery factory are given the go-ahead by PERTE, the European Strategic Project for the Recovery and Economic Transformation, the company hopes to begin building the plant at the end of this year, to start production of batteries in 2026. The factory would have a maximum annual capacity of 40gigawatt hours (GwH).

Griffiths said: “This project is not only a recovery to get back to where we were, but a transformation of the entire industry. It is the greatest opportunity we have had in the history of the automobile industry in Spain. We have to go out and win.”

Puig: “Comparable to the arrival of Ford in Almussafes in 1976”

Regional president, Ximo Puig, described the announcement as a “decisive step” for the progress of the region and its location at Parc Sagunt II.

He said that the creation of 3,000 jobs at the Sagunto factory, the first battery factory in southern Europe, was a historic event that would help to encourage reindustrialisation. He said it would “boost recovery, create more jobs and improve the future of the Valencian Community” with a “transcendental” decision for its “progress and prosperity”. He stressed that the Generalitat had been working “thoroughly and discreetly” for months to “attract this major industrial investment.”

“The arrival of Volkswagen at Parc Sagunt II would mean, if PERTE finally supports it, the most important initial investment in industry that the Valencian Region has ever received in its history”, said Puig, who considered this event comparable to the arrival of Ford in Almussafes in 1976, which led to “a transformation in employment, exports, infrastructure, auxiliary industrial sectors and the creation of the middle classes in the Valencian Region”.

The President thanked Volkswagen for the trust it has placed in the Valencia Region. He also pointed out that housing the manufacture of the core of electric cars, the batteries, will turn the Valencia Region “into an innovative hub of new mobility, a European hub of high-tech industry and sustainability”,

Puig also stressed that, with the current energy tensions due to the war in Ukraine, this news “takes on a special value, an economic, social and moral value”.

He concluded, saying that the Valencian Community now strengthens its position in the automobile industry with the interest of Volkswagen, “the second-largest vehicle manufacturer in the world, the largest German company and one of the companies leading the transition to a more sustainable mobility”.

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