BARCELONA -- Spain's Industry Minister, Reyes Maroto, said on the government was making progress in convincing Nissan to reconsider closing its Barcelona vehicle assembly plant while looking for another investor.
"We are gradually getting Nissan to realize that it's very expensive to close that plant. It's always best to make way for a new investor, which we are working on. There is always hope," she said during an event on Wednesday organized by Europa Press news agency.
Nissan said in May it would shut the plant and associated parts factories, and lay off around 3,000 workers as part its global turnaround plan.
On Tuesday, a Nissan executive said the automaker is willing to postpone the closure until June 2021. The plant is due to close by December 2020.
A postponement would depend on an agreement on compensation for laid-off workers and this would have to be reached before July 30 or early August when a negotiation period ends, Frank Torres, the head of Nissan's industrial operations in Spain, told reporters.
In exchange for an agreement Nissan would not conduct layoffs until the end of 2020, Torres said.
Nissan would have to stick to its original schedule if negotiations with unions do not advance, he said.
The postponement would give Spanish authorities time to find another company that could be interested in the plants, Torres said, adding that Nissan still saw no alternative to the plants' closure.
The Barcelona factory builds pickups and vans. Nissan plans to relocate production of the Navara pickup to South Africa, while a replacement for the e-NV200 electric van would be built at Renault's plant in Maubeuge, France, according to reports.
Petrochemicals giant Ineos has expressed an interest in taking over the plant to build the Grenadier SUV, its rival to the Land Rover Defender. The Nissan factory is set up for assembly of ladder-frame off-road vehicles, although Ineos has said buying Daimler's Smart factory in France is its favored option.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this report