Nissan Is Worried About Europe, but Invests in Spain

The continuing decline in the European economy is a "concern" for Nissan Motor, but it is somewhat offset by growing markets in Russia, China, “and even in the United States,” Andy Palmer, Nissan’s executive vice president, told CNBC's “Squawk Box” on Wednesday.


“We continue to hope that Greece will stay in the euro, we continue to hope that we will see a recovery in the same way as we’ve seen some recovery in the United States, but of course, the jury is still very much out,” Palmer said.

The carmaker announced that it is to produce a 100 percent electric commercial van in Barcelona, creating 700 jobs, the second project that the car maker has allocated to the country after the announcement last week that a new medium duty truck would also be produced in Spain.

“Nissan has been investing in Spain for a long time and obviously you create a certain skill base and here that is particularly relevant here for light commercial vehicles (LCVs),” Palmer said.

The e-NV200, a 100 percent electric vehicle, will be the latest in a line of LCVs that Nissan has produced and will be manufactured in Barcelona from 2013 onwards. By creating 700 jobs in the process, Nissan’s announcement is a rare piece of positive news in a country whose unemploymentrate now stands at 24 percent, the highest level since the early 1990s.

Asked about how sensitive Nissan could be to Spain’s economic troubles, he said that the company’s manufacturing base would be shielded from the economic crisis facing the country “as the majority of the vehicles would be exported out of Spain, and out of Europe.”

“Obviously the economy here is tough, but we’ve renegotiated the conditions of employment with the Spanish unions and obviously everyone is very sensitive to bringing employment here,” Palmer added.