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May 2020 | Platform

Safety, courage, strength, solidarity and resilience: Key factors for Spanish automotive manufacturers to overcome the COVID-19 crisis

  • "Autoparts from Spain Together" is an initiative driven by the "Autoparts from Spain" platform, showcasing how Spanish automotive suppliers have adapted to the new situation and sought new opportunities.
  • "The automotive components sector has been adapting to exceptional situations since 1886. This time, we will need an additional dose of patience and adaptation, but we will overcome it nonetheless."

The Spanish automotive equipment and components sector, as a whole, plays a fundamental role in the vehicle value chain, contributing around 75% of its total value. Currently, it is one of the most export-oriented sectors, accounting for up to 82% of production destined for over 130 countries, employing more than 370,000 people directly and indirectly in Spain. These figures reveal the importance of the Spanish automotive industry in the country's economy. Therefore, its unity, lessons, strength, solidarity, example, and experiences are now more valuable than ever to help other sectors adapt to the current situation and overcome the crisis.

Under the campaign "Autoparts from Spain Together," many companies part of "Autoparts from Spain," a platform that aims to promote internationally the Spanish offer and export capacity of manufacturers of automotive equipment and components 'made in Spain,' come together to share their experiences during the crisis, showcase best practices, demonstrate their adaptability, and convey a positive and encouraging message about the opportunities brought about by the COVID-19 crisis.

AMC, a leading company in the manufacture of aluminum cylinder heads for gasoline, diesel, and gas engines, had to pause production, allowing them to optimize their work processes and improve their products. "We have used the break caused by COVID-19 to consider what the future of IAM (Independent Aftermarket) will be after this pandemic and to optimize our manufacturing processes and how we interact with customers as we believe the future will be. Business being done differently from now on does not necessarily mean a change for the worse, but rather adapting to a new way of doing business and probably a new opportunity in several aspects."

On the other hand, Enganches Aragón, a manufacturer of towbars for all types of vehicles, emphasizes that the automotive components sector has been adapting to extreme situations since 1886, the invention date of the first automobile, and that this time will be no different. "At Enganches Aragón, we are convinced that this virus will bring out the best in us. In a few weeks, we have completed an accelerated master's degree in telecommuting, occupational risk prevention, trust in others, and, above all, in ourselves. We have not stopped working for a single day to adapt to a new reality that is already here. We will do it once again."

Many companies have seen this crisis as an opportunity to make a positive difference in the world: "The pandemic will eventually be under control, and we will all be remembered for how we behave. We need to seize this opportunity to become a better company and a better employer; we need to take advantage of this challenging opportunity to make a positive difference in the world," declares FERSA, a Spanish multinational dedicated to the design, development, manufacture, and distribution of high-quality bearing solutions for the automotive market.

Lizarte, a manufacturer of quality solutions for the aftermarket, adds, "It has been shown that in difficult times, the true nature of people and companies comes out, and during these last weeks, we have all demonstrated courage, solidarity, and resilience, key factors to face the moments that are coming and resurge with more strength if possible, as we did before this crisis. At Lizarte, we are fully convinced that if we adapt to this new post-crisis scenario and stay alert, we will be able to seize new opportunities and transform them into profitable, solid, and sustainable business models. Together we can!"

Another positive point that companies from the "Autoparts from Spain" platform draw from this health crisis is the solidarity that companies and workers have demonstrated: "In this context of COVID-19, we must highlight the effort that the entire Gestamp team is making to overcome this. Because only thanks to the help of each of them are we moving forward. A clear example of this is every act of solidarity carried out locally by the people of Gestamp or the sacrifice and commitment globally to overcome the situation," confirm GESTAMP, a Spanish multinational specialized in the design, development, and manufacture of high-engineering metal components.

Grupo Antolín, one of the world's leading manufacturers of car interiors declared: "To face this global health emergency, it is essential that we all come together and support each other to protect the health and safety of the population. Grupo Antolín and its employees have launched several initiatives to manufacture medical equipment and address the shortage of coronavirus protection equipment in Spain. As an example of these initiatives, the company has produced medical gowns for healthcare personnel in hospitals and other social centers."

Additionally, many companies in the platform operate or have plants in other countries where the crisis had already affected them earlier, allowing them to act quickly and with a protocol already tested. OLIPES, specialists in the development of lubricants, greases, and special products for automobiles, is an example: "Weeks before the state of alarm was declared in Spain, Olipes had already anticipated an emergency plan for COVID-19, analyzing the situation that was occurring in Italy and serving as a starting point, which we implemented in record time. A defined strategy for three possible scenarios, good planning, rapid adaptability, and a correct analysis of the situation in real-time, in permanent contact with employees, suppliers, and customers, were the key to facing the COVID-19 crisis at OLIPES."

Discover the experience of the companies from Autoparts from Spain in overcoming the COVID-19 crisis.

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