MADRID — After struggling for several years to regain its economic footing, the car industry in Spain is providing a beacon of hope for the country. Recently, the Spain’s automotive industry has seen a rapid rise in production, providing more jobs and a much-needed boost to Spain’s growth.
When the 2008 global economic crisis hit Spain, its unemployment rates soared from eight percent at the beginning of the crisis to more than 26 percent in 2013. The car industry in Spain now, however, is looking to change those numbers.
As Europe’s second-largest car producer and the world’s eighth-largest, Spain created 26,800 jobs through its car industry in 2014 alone. The total number of jobs linked to the industry within Spain is estimated to be upwards of two million. In fact, more than nine percent of Spain’s population is employed by the automotive industry.
Increased investment in the car industry in Spain is also bringing new money into the country, allowing for profitable expansions that are helping to enhance growth. Ford Motor Co. has made plans to invest more than $2.6 billion in expansions to its plant in Valencia, Spain by 2020. This will make it Ford’s second-largest plant in the world. The Valencia plant alone employs over 8,000 people and will be able to add additional jobs as the expansion continues.
This new job growth has not only helped Spanish citizens but also the global market as a whole. With Spain’s gross domestic product being comprised of the car sector by more than eight percent, Spain has been able to increase its export sector. Currently, 80 percent of all Spanish-produced cars are exported, making the country’s percentage of exports rise by 8.7 percent from 2012 to 2013. This has allowed Spain to significantly reduce its trading deficit, bringing it to its lowest levels since 1972.
Between promising job expansion and investment-spurring growth, the car industry in Spain has proven to be the much-needed spark to the economy that the country has so desperately needed post-crisis. With added growth anticipated over the next few years, Spain’s automotive industry will likely continue to be a positive force for growth and prosperity.
– Sara Christensen