May 14, 2020 / 2:23 PM / 23 days ago

Nissan could look at shutting Barcelona plant, no decision made, sources say

(Reuters) - Nissan Motor (7201.T) may be looking at the possibility of closing its Barcelona factory but no final decision has been made as the Japanese carmaker plans a new global strategic direction, two sources with direct knowledge told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: A Nissan logo is pictured at Brussels Motor Show, Belgium, January 9, 2020. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

The Nikkei newspaper reported on Thursday that Nissan is planning to reduce its global capacity by 20% and close its Barcelona-area plant, shifting its production to Renault plants.

A Nissan Spain spokesman declined to comment on the Nikkei report, but said the carmaker plans to present an updated global business plan in late May.

“The company does not comment rumours or information about the future of the plant,” a Nissan Spain spokesman said, adding that Nissan’s European chairman had earlier told union leaders at the Barcelona plant they would be informed about the factory’s future before summer.

The factory partially reopened on May 4 after the coronavirus outbreak forced a total shutdown in mid March, but a workers strike brought production back to a total halt from May 6, the spokesman said.

As a consequence of the strike, over 2,000 out of the 3,000 workers in Nissan’s plant and related facilities in the Barcelona area have been temporarily laid off, he added.

A plant union leader did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Unions have long complained about the lack of a clear strategy on the Barcelona plant’s future, which produces pick-up trucks and electric vans.

Reuters reported on May 4 that Nissan will pull back from Europe and elsewhere to focus on the United States, China and Japan under a plan that represents a new strategic direction for the carmaker.

The “operational performance plan” is due to be announced on May 28 and goes beyond fixing problems from ousted leader Carlos Ghosn’s aggressive expansion drive, people with direct knowledge of the plan told Reuters.

Reporting by Joan Faus in Barcelona and Norihiko Shirouzu in Beijing, editing by Nathan Allen and Angus MacSwan

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