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January 2022 | Companies

Automotive components sector Spain: origins and history

The Spanish Automotive Equipment and Components Manufacturing industry has been a world leader for decades given its high quality standards, its investment in technology and innovation, as well as for its extensive experience.

All this, at competitive prices, which has turned many of these Spanish companies into strategic suppliers of the automotive industry around the world.

Therefore, today, from the Autoparts from Spain blog, a platform made up of some thirty Spanish automotive component manufacturers and led by Sernauto in collaboration with ICEX, to promote the internationalization processes of these companies, we review the origins of the automotive components sector in Spain.

The origins of the Spanish automotive industry date back to the beginning of the 20th century, in the hands of companies such as Hispano Suiza.

The birth of SEAT in the 1950s was an important milestone that marked the beginning of a solid industry of equipment and component manufacturers. This event led to Spain starting to position itself as the ideal location for first-class foreign manufacturers to install their production plants for vehicles and components in our country.

In the 90s, a concentration process began of the sector. The component sector began to take shape, as we know it now, with a solid industry formed by Spanish companies, mostly family members, which began to acquire a significant size, thanks in particular to the reactivation of the domestic market and exports. In addition, following the vehicle manufacturers, foreign components companies, mainly American, German and French, were set up in our country.

The international economic crisis of the 90s also hit the Spanish sector hard, seeing its turnover stagnate for a few years and then reactivating in 1994. In the mid-1990s, Spanish component companies began to expand internationally and to commit to a global market.

Since 2001, the purchase of companies and R&D+I centres in other countries has been intensifying, mainly in traditional markets such as Europe and the United States.

In 2007, the components sector reached its historical maximum turnover that amounted to 33,000 million euros, but since the economic crisis of 2008 there has been a sharp reduction in production, caused by the abrupt contraction

of domestic and external demand, the difficulties in accessing credit and the growth of unemployment. It was in this context when the sector increased its presence in emerging countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The recovery of the components sector after 2010 was motivated by the recovery of the European market, increasing the turnover of component suppliers up to almost 30,000 million euros in 2011. Again, the reduction of the European market in 2012 led to a decline in the component sector’s turnover, although not to 2009 levels.

In 2013 there was an increase in turnover, mainly due to the increase in the production of vehicles in the domestic market. The growth of domestic demand and the production of new vehicles with a higher added value allowed the turnover for components to continue increasing.

Figures from 2015 confirmed the recovery of the sector and this growth trend continued in 2016. In that year, the turnover of the sector surpassed 34,000 million euros, which meant surpassing the historical 2007 maximum of 33,000 million eurosin turnover.


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