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Coronavirus

Spain to Launch a $4.1B Aid Package to Shore up Its Automobile Industry

MADRID — The Spanish government is launching a 3.7-billion-euro ($4.1 billion) aid package to shore up its automobile manufacturing industry in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Details of the two-year package unveiled Monday include subsidies for the purchase of cars, plans to spur investment in the industry with the aim of producing more electric vehicles, and training for the workforce.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced the package on Sunday but the government presented the details on Monday during an event joined by representatives of workers unions and the automotive industry.

Car sales dropped during the strict lockdown imposed by the government. Just as the country was trying to go back to work, Japanese carmaker Nissan Motor Co. announced the closure of plants near Barcelona employing 3,000 people directly and more than 20,000 through suppliers. Central and regional authorities vowed to persuade Nissan to reverse the decision.

The car industry generates a tenth of the country’s GDP and nearly a fifth of its exports. Some 650,000 people work in the automobile manufacturing industry, according to official statistics.

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