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Nissan plant in Spain may be sold to China's Great Wall Motor

Authorities to discuss sale of factory slated for closure

Nissan cars on display at an auto show in Barcelona, Spain: In December, the Japanese carmaker will close three plants in the city.   © Reuters

BARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) -- Spanish authorities and Nissan will enter talks with China's Great Wall Motor over a possible takeover of the Japanese carmaker's plant in Barcelona, which is due to shut in December, they said on Friday.

National and regional authorities, together with Nissan, also picked Spanish electric motorcycle manufacturer Silence and local engineering firm QEV Technologies -- which leads an electric vehicle production hub integrated by Swedish manufacturers Inzile and Volta -- to negotiate the fate of two smaller plants.

Nissan's three Barcelona plants employ around 3,000 people directly and 20,000 indirectly.

But only 1,600 direct jobs are at stake since the rest of the workers will benefit from early retirement and other measures, a CGT union source told Reuters.

The source said Great Wall was interested in the larger plant and would study whether it might have use for the other two, while Silence and QEV Technologies are only interested in the smaller factories.

"We are convinced we will be able to find solutions that are beneficial to everyone," Nissan's industrial head in Spain, Frank Torres, said in a statement.

In a severe blow to Spain, Europe's second-largest car producer, Nissan announced last year it would shut its three factories as part of a global restructuring.

It initially said the plants would close by December 2020 but later pushed the date back a year, as it started looking for an alternative industrial project with authorities.

Great Wall Motor has not made public its plan for the factories, but a source with knowledge of the talks said it could keep around 1,300 jobs.

A project presented by Belgian carmaker Punch for Nissan's plants has been left out of the upcoming negotiations, although officials said no option was fully excluded.

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