Renault Morocco's production increased from 15,000 vehicles to 350,000 in 15 years

The Moroccan automotive industry: an attractive sector for Spanish companies

PHOTO/ICEX - Mohamed Bachiri en el Encuentro Empresarial España-Marruecos
photo_camera PHOTO/ICEX - Mohammed Bachiri at Spain-Morocco Business Meeting

The growth of the Moroccan economy, its presence in most African countries and its geostrategic position make Morocco the gateway to Africa for Spain and the rest of Europe. For this reason, the Moroccan industrial sector offers interesting opportunities for investment by Spanish companies, according to Hakim Marrakchi, vice-president of the Moroccan employers' association (CGEM) and president and general manager of Maghreb Industries, during the Spain-Morocco Business Meeting in Casablanca. 

Marrakchi was the main speaker at "The industrial sector in Morocco", one of the workshops organised by ICEX, in which the automotive sector played a leading role. Adil Zaidi, president of the Automotive Federation, stressed that we must work together to achieve greater industrial integration, especially in terms of the value chain at the level of small and medium-sized enterprises. "Spain can facilitate access to the European and Latin American markets, just as Morocco can do with the African market," he pointed out. 

Zaidi advocated permanent dialogue through forums and bilateral meetings to monitor European regulations on the electric car. In Europe, all manufacturers are developing this type of car with a view to the horizon of 2035, the year in which no new light commercial vehicles or passenger cars with combustion engines can be sold in the EU. 

PHOTO/ICEX - Ryad Mezzour, Ricardo Díez-Hochleitner y Xiana Méndez
PHOTO/ICEX - Ryad Mezzour, Ricardo Díez-Hochleitner and Xiana Méndez

The president of the automotive sector expressed his conviction that it is necessary to anticipate the challenges facing the sector with a vision of the future, such as, for example, identifying the new technologies that will become essential in the manufacture of automobiles in the next five years. Among others, he pointed to the area of spare parts as an opportunity for cooperation with Spain, whose turnover could reach ten or fifteen times the price of the car.

For his part, Renault's general manager in Morocco, Mohammed Bachiri, pointed out that Spain is the second most important destination for the vehicles Renault manufactures in Morocco and exports to more than 60 countries. "We export 90% of our cars, which gives an idea of the volume of business that our relationship with Spain represents," he said.

Bachiri emphasised the development of the automotive sector in Morocco with a revealing fact: "At Renault, we have gone from building 15,000 vehicles in 2015 to a figure of 350,000 last year." The infrastructure in the northern region of Morocco and especially the Tangier Med port are essential for such considerable growth. "In fact, our cars fresh from the factory are transported by train via a track that links us directly to the port," he assured.

PHOTO/ICEX - Mohamed Bachiri en el Encuentro Empresarial España-Marruecos
PHOTO/ICEX - Mohammed Bachiri at Spain-Morocco Business Meeting

For Bachiri, one of the keys in the sector is the task of training personnel and he is committed to the investment of Spanish companies in the automotive sector "with medium and long-term prospects".

Miguel Oliver, General Manager of Renault's factories in Morocco, encouraged Spanish businessmen to settle in Morocco by approaching the culture with respect and building the necessary trust to work together. "I have integrated into Morocco even though when I came in February last year I had not visited the country before: in my experience, if you work as a team you can do great things".

Albert del Valle, general manager of Dallant Maghreb, spoke about his experience in the food sector. The company he manages is dedicated to the manufacture of food and beverage equipment.

AFP/FADEL SENNA - Los empleados de la fábrica trabajan en una línea de ensamblaje de automóviles en la planta de ensamblaje de automóviles Renault-Nissan Tánger en Melloussa, al este de la ciudad portuaria de Tánger
AFP/FADEL SENNA - Factory employees work on a car assembly line at the Renault-Nissan Tangier car assembly plant in Melloussa, east of the port city of Tangier

Del Valle cited Dallant as an example of a Spanish SME with a family structure that has successfully established itself in Morocco. In 2000 we took the decision to set up here and today we manufacture flavourings and aromatic preparations.

"For me, the cost of labour is an additional factor, it is not the main reason to invest in Morocco. It is a country where there is capacity to grow, not only because there is a very interesting local market, but also because exports from Morocco are huge. For example, exporting to the United States is easier from Morocco than from Europe," said the Dallant Maghreb manager. In fact, the export department to Africa is integrated into the company's headquarters in Morocco for, among other reasons, the commercial agreements and the Moroccan banking network on the continent that facilitates the management of collections, he concluded.

Speaking about the role that banks can play in the business venture of Spaniards in Morocco, the Deputy Director General of the Investment Finance Department of the Bank of Africa, Mehdi Drafate, highlighted the extensive network of the bank's offices in Africa (with a presence in 20 countries) and Europe (9 offices in total with a presence in Madrid and Barcelona). 

For her part, Afaf Saaidi, director of aeronautical, railway, naval and energy industries at the Moroccan Ministry of Industry and Trade, highlighted the commitment to the aeronautical sector, with the development over the last two decades of an industrial platform with 140 companies, including some of the main international players in the sector, such as Airbus and Boeing.

"As part of the industrial acceleration plan, we are working in 14 different sectors within the framework of a policy of creating ecosystems, 55 in total, including aeronautics and the automotive sector," added Saaidi.

The Spanish State Secretariat for Trade, through ICEX Spain Export and Investment and the economic and commercial offices of Spain in Morocco and in collaboration with the CEOE and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, organised this Spain-Morocco Business Meeting with the presence of 58 Spanish companies interested in expanding in the North African country.

Fernando Domingo from Casablanca

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