Spain picks QEV as favorite for Nissan’s Barcelona plant

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MADRID, December 29 (Reuters)Spanish authorities have selected local automotive group QEV Technologies as the top candidate to take over Nissan 7201.T main factory in Barcelona after the Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall Motor 601633.SS withdrew its interest, Nissan said Wednesday.

Catalonia-based engineering group QEV plans to turn the facility into a hub for electric vehicles, with participation from Swedish producers Inzile and Volta.

Spain is rushing to find a buyer for the plant, which Nissan will leave at the end of the year. Great Wall was to take it over but pulled out this month.

A commission made up of Spanish and Catalan politicians, union representatives and Nissan executives met regularly to evaluate various proposals for the plant.

“Participants (…) supported the outline of the electromobility hub plan led by QEV Technologies,” Nissan said in a statement. “The hub meets all the objectives set.”

Further discussions will focus on the concrete needs of the plant in terms of space and assets and to determine whether other complementary projects could be included.

An alternative proposal from Belgian automaker Punch will be considered as a secondary option, Nissan said.

Negotiations to sell two smaller Nissan plants in the region to QEV and electric motorcycle maker Silence are now at a very advanced stage, the Japanese automaker said.

(Reporting by Joan Faus and Nathan Allen Editing by Andrei Khalip and David Goodman)

((n.allen@thomsonreuters.com; +34 617 792 131;))

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