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China important market for Spanish auto industry: ANFAC president


BARCELONA, Spain,  (Xinhua) -- Jose Luis Lopez-Schummer, president of the Spanish Association of Car Manufacturers (ANFAC) has said China is an important market for the Spanish automotive sector.

Lopez-Schummer, who has a long career in the automotive industry, participated this week in the 29th Automotive Industry Meeting that was held in the northeastern Spanish city of Barcelona.

Lopez-Schummer told Xinhua that the Chinese market was very important, adding that Spain could offer "premium-class vehicles of all types, gas vehicles, electric vehicles, four-wheel vehicles, vans, etc.."

A large part of the Spanish vehicle production is shipped to other countries, mainly European countries like France and Germany. In 2012, exports represented 87.4 percent of the production and in 2013, 86.9 percent.

"I think we still have to boost more exports," Lopez-Schummer said, adding "especially, in order to build an image of premium product."

Spain's automotive industry was hit by the economic crisis and is now slowly recovering thanks to the Plan PIVE, which gives prospective buyers 2,000 euros (2,500 U.S. dollars) to buy a more efficient car in exchange of a 10-year-old car.

This plan helped boost sales within the sector and renew the Spanish fleet, whose vehicles have an average of 11.3 years being the oldest car's fleet in Europe, a fact that increases the risk of accidents.

"We hope Plan PIVE will exist until about 1.2 million cars are manufactured in Spain," Lopez-Schummer said.

"The automotive sector is one of the most competitive," he said, so when there is confidence within Spanish consumers, public financial support will not be necessary.

However, he did not rule incentives provided by the industry, "we will continue to offer incentives," he said.

ANFAC expects Spain to manufacture about 2.4 million vehicles this year and 2.6 million in 2015. The automotive sector accounts for about 10 percent of Spanish GDP.



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