The new C4 Cactus hatchback, which started assembly PSA’s Villaverde factory in Madrid at the end of last month, is credited with saving the plant – which was scheduled for closure just two years ago.
This is a typical example of chronic overcapacity that many European automakers face, as they didn’t follow the strict example of the US three automakers – after the 2009 economic crisis they severely cut capacity, closing down unprofitable factories.
But, thanks to the new C4 Cactus, the Spanish manufacturing facility has a glimmer of hope, which hinges though on the success of the model – which is slated to remain the only one assembled there from 2015.
Until 2012, the Spanish unit assembled the Peugeot 207 and its various variants, but after the 208 replacement came they lost the manufacturing contract to factories in France and Slovakia, and was scheduled for closure. If back in 2012 there were 2,700 employees there, now the facility only has 1,600 – of which 200 are new hires for the new model’s assembly.
“The output will depend on the success of the model,” says Jose Carlos Robredo Bertol, the plant’s manager. “Now we are working to provide European dealers with cars, then we will work on customers’ orders,” he adds.
According to estimates, the plant has a full capacity of 200,000 vehicles per year, but to reach that installed production the workforce would need to grow by another 1,800 people. Meanwhile, the C4 Cactus production is forecast at 380 units a day, which would add to a total of around 85,000 Cactus each year.
Via Automotive News Europe