Volkswagen’s Spanish brand SEAT is currently planning on investing around €5 billion over the course of 2020 up until 2025, being fully committed to making electric cars in Spain, as long as there is help from the government, it claimed on Wednesday.
Carmakers are currently planning on increasing the production of electric vehicles in order to try and meet the strict European emissions regulations.
However, there are very hefty costs involved in doing so, especially now that the demand for cars has taken a significant hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
SEAT had already planned investments in research and development, equipment and electric cars for 2016-2020, which reached numbers that were higher than €3.3 billion.
The Spanish carmaker is planning to make car models at one of its main plants in Martorell, just outside of Barcelona, at the start of 2025.
However, this plan will require a significant improvement in renewable energy and charging infrastructure in Spain, as well as other distinct features, SEAT’s interim chairman Carsten Isensee said during a press conference.
Isensee also stated that the Spanish government’s scheme to try and support the automobile sector as much as it could was already a step in the right direction, yet there is still a need to increase the demand for electric cars within the country.
During the first quarter of 2020, SEAT reported a €48 million loss because of the pandemic, and Isensee warned that the second quarter is set to be even worse than the first.
However, Isensee was still hopeful, stating that “We are confident we will recover,” also pointing out that the production at SEAT’s main plant was almost exactly the same as before the health crisis.
2020 has been a major change in fortunes from previous years for SEAT, as it had achieved record sales in 2019, selling 574,078 vehicles, which was 10.9% more than in 2018, as well as being the third consecutive year that this statistic has managed to grow by double-digits.
Luca de Meo left the post of chairman in January in order to become Renault’s chief executive later on.
Due to the mass COVID-19 outbreak in Barcelona, SEAT was also forced to close its Barcelona factory for around six weeks, leading to them to temporarily lay off thousands of workers.
The company launched its first ever fully-electric car in 2019 in the form of the SEAT Mii electric, and it plans to have six electric and plug-in hybrid car models by 2021.