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April 2021 | Companies

History of the Spanish automotive component industry

Spanish automotive component industry is, and had been for decades, a world leader thanks to their high-quality standards, their technology and innovation and their long-run experience.

A price-affordable option which has turned these companies into strategic suppliers for the world’s automotive industry.


Origins of the Spanish automotive component industry


The origins of the Spanish automotive component industry date back to the beginning of the 20th century with the company ‘Hispano Suiza’.

The birth of SEAT in the 50s meant an important milestone for the Spanish automotive component and equipment industry. This move opened Spain as a strategic location for first-order foreign Automotive components manufacturers to set up here production plants.

The mid 70s’ liberalization in Spain in created a big transformation in the industry, due to the implementation of foreign vehicle manufacturers, this fueled the growth of Spanish automotive component companies.


The Spanish automotive component industry breaks into Europe


The entrance of Spain in the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1986 made possible for several Spanish companies to break into the European market to export their automotive components and equipment for brands located in neighboring countries such as Germany, France and Italy, from then on, exports kept growing on unstoppably.

In the 90s, a concentration process in the sector began. The automotive component sector, as we know it today, began to set up: a solid industry of Spanish companies -most of them family business- started to grow especially thanks to the internal and external market reactivation. Besides, following the steps of vehicle manufacturers before, also foreign automotive component companies located it in Spain, mainly American, German and French ones

The international economic crisis in the 90s had a tough impact on the Spanish sector which saw how their billing was on hold during those years to get eventually reactivated in 1994. In the mid 90s, the Spanish automotive component companies started at international expansion, going for a global market. From 2001 on, an intense purchasing of I+D companies and centers, mainly in traditional markets such as Europe and United States.


The Spanish automotive component industry in the 21st century


In 2007, the component sector reached the historic highest billing figures of €33,000 million. In 2008 economic crisis the production decreased dramatically due to the sudden contraction of internal and external demand, credit-access related issues and the increase of unemployment. This is when the sector increased their presence in emerging countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.

In 2010, a step up once again thanks to the European market recovery, that increased component supplier company billings to almost €30,000 million in 2011. Again, the European market contraction in 2012 produced a fall in the sector of automotive components, not compared to 2009’s level anyway.

In 2013 billing increased, mainly thanks to the internal market vehicle production increase. The internal demand growth and the production of higher added-value vehicles allowed billing to keep growing.

2015 data confirmed the sector’s recovery, this trend went on until 2016. That year billing overpassed €34,000 million, beating the historic €33,000 million high in 2007.

Nowadays, the Spanish component industry is made of international and national groups, average stock companies, and specialized SMEs which are consolidated both nationally and internationally with presence in the main markets.


Health crisis impact on the Spanish automotive component industry


Currently, the Spanish automotive component industry faces - along 2020- a dramatic fall increased by the world commerce of automotive products as consequence of COVID-19. However, the resilience of Spanish automotive supplier and their competitiveness in foreign markets have kept the exports on, stating the relevance of the international factor for the sector and the Spanish economy.

At Autoparts From Spain, a digital platform oriented to promote the Spanish offer nationally and internationally and the international capacity of the ‘made-in-Spain’ automotive component and equipment sector, we hope you have found this article interesting.

The Spanish automotive component companies’ journey has been quite interesting through the years, which has allowed them to reach a leading position regarding items of quality, innovation, technology and experience in strategic markets.

In this sense, Autoparts From Spain consists on an initiative promoted by SERNAUTO, the automotive supplier association in collaboration with ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones. They work together to amplify the visibility and competitiveness of the Spanish automotive company industry at the international stage. Thus, reinforcing their position of leadership in the automotive sector.

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