15 May 2023

Sunsundegui welcomes the Minister of Industry and the President of Navarre to its facilities

  • This visit is a further demonstration of the institutions’ support for the company’s future.
  • The bodybuilder from Navarre has reached a historic pre-agreement with Volvo Bus to expand its production capacity and create more than 450 jobs in Alsasua.
  • The Government of Navarra and the City Council announce their commitment to continue supporting Sunsundegui to develop this project.

On the occasion of the historic pre-agreement reached between Sunsundegui and Volvo Bus, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Héctor Gómez, and the President of Navarra, María Chivite, visited the facilities of the Navarrese coachbuilder.

This visit is another example of the support and recognition of the institutions for the future of the company, which has been consolidated with the recent agreement with Volvo Bus, Sunsundegui’s reference partner, and which will allow the Navarrese company to expand its current production capacity and create more than 450 jobs in Alsasua.

During the meeting, the Minister of Industry and the President of Navarra held a meeting with the Management, in which they were informed of the company’s trajectory, and with the workers’ representatives, which ended with a visit to the factory facilities.

Among the institutional representation, together with the President of Navarre and the Minister of Industry, the following also attended the meeting: the President of Navarre and the Minister of Industry. delegate of the Government in Navarra, José Luis Arasti, and the Economic and Business Development Counselor, Mikel Irujo, and the mayor of Alsasua, Javier Ollo, who were accompanied by the business representation headed by the mayor of Alsasua, Javier Ollo, who was CEO of Sunsundegui, José Ignacio Murillo, and the general manager, Félix Aramendia.

José Ignacio Murillo thanked the President of Navarra, the Minister of Industry, the Government Delegate, the Mayor of Alsasua and the Regional Minister of Economic and Business Development for their presence and the support shown for the future of Sunsundegui and for their involvement and support in reaching the agreement with Volvo, which “represents a historic moment for Sunsundegui, and is the result of the work carried out by a great team and the involvement of the entire workforce, together with the commitment of the governments of Spain and Navarre, the trust of customers, suppliers and financial institutions, which have made it possible to overcome the difficulties and carry out this project”.

The CEO of Sunsundegui asked the institutional representatives to continue supporting the company in order to strengthen its financial situation and carry out the necessary investments to develop the agreement, while highlighting the need to have trained workers, for which he demanded to promote vocational training in the area, improve public transport (both train and bus) for the transfer of employees, promote the promotion of housing in the area to facilitate the establishment of people in this region, and the need to improve the conditions of the industrial park both in infrastructure and safety.

The President of Navarra pointed out that they have come to know first hand the project that Sunsundegui has agreed with Volvo, which means very good future prospects for this company, well known in the region and that has been installed in the area for many years, which has lived through complicated times and now lives a hopeful moment, with prospects of hiring more than 400 workers between now and 2028, but that will also be a boost for the Sakana area and its employment. Chivite thanked Sunsundegui’s management for its commitment to continue searching for viable projects for the future, as well as the works council, which has always been willing to dialogue and reach agreements to make the company viable, and recalled the aid that both the Government of Navarra, “which will continue to support Sunsundegui”, and the Government of Spain have provided to guarantee the future of this company.

The Councilor for Economic and Business Development pointed out that “this is a story of resilience, in which the Government of Navarre, through Sodena, has been providing continuous support since 2011, and we see that it has borne fruit: gaining the trust of a constructor such as Volvo, which is going to provide this guarantee for the future of the company and the area”. He indicated that, although support and dialogue with the company have been one of the keys to reaching this point, “we cannot sleep and there is much to be done in the coming months, with an extremely demanding schedule”, and announced the creation of three working groups to address the company’s real estate needs, as well as its training and financial position.

Mayor Alsasua thanked Sunsundegui’s management and staff for so many years of work that “have led us to a hopeful future”, and the Government of Navarra for its involvement. Ollo showed his “willingness to collaborate with the company and the Government of Navarre to facilitate that this important workload can be carried out and, as a city council, to provide all the facilities and help that corresponds to us” so that this hopeful future for the town and the region becomes a reality.

Consolidation of its viability

Sunsundegui is today a solid company in constant growth and this is demonstrated by the signing of the historic pre-agreement with Volvo Bus, which ensures its future viability and marks the beginning of a new stage for the coachbuilder. Its clear commitment to innovation, research and the excellence of its vehicles, as well as the joint commitment of different institutions, the trust of customers, suppliers and financial institutions and the involvement of its employees, have made possible the continuous growth of the bodybuilder and have shown the resilience of the company, which has successfully overcome the complicated stage resulting from the crisis caused by the Covid-19.

During the last few years, Sunsundegui has faced the economic difficulties derived from the drop in tourism caused by the pandemic, which directly affected the company’s business. The agreements reached with the trade unions and the backing of 73% of the share capital for the 2022-2027 Viability Plan allowed the Navarre construction company to consolidate itself as a solvent, sustainable company with a future; a plan that also has the confidence of the governments of the State and Navarre through Sodena and, more recently, of Cofides, through the financial support granted to the Alsasuarra bodybuilder.

Thus, during the last few years, its activity has been marked by the expansion of the Navarrese bodybuilder in the export market -mainly in countries such as Israel, Ireland, France and Portugal-; the various advances achieved in innovation, such as the high definition HD cameras that replace rear-view mirrors, the aerodynamic improvements underway to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 6%, and other improvements such as the reduction of bodywork weight while maintaining safety and reducing fuel consumption; the incorporation of the Sb3 Go bus to its range of models; and the strategic collaboration alliances reached with leading companies in the mobility sector.

Sunsundegui dedicates a great deal of effort to researching, designing, developing and manufacturing increasingly sustainable public transport solutions, such as the development of new products (with the forecast of bodywork for electric vehicles as early as 2024), but also in digitalization, accessibility (with seats for users with reduced mobility in wheelchairs and access platform, and sound information), comfort (increased space, free WiFi network, USB connections in seats, seating comfort) and safety, both active and passive.

Sunsundegui is a strategic company for its community, Navarra, and a fundamental driving force for economic and social development in the Sakana community and has earned the trust (the word trust has even become the company’s slogan) of all the parties involved and of society as a whole.

Agreement with Volvo Bus

All this has been backed by the pre-agreement reached with Volvo Bus, which will increase the production capacity of the bodybuilder from 3 to 4 units per day, reaching a capacity of 850 units per year.

The letter of intent signed by both parties includes a two-fold agreement: the transfer of technology and the design and manufacturing process, and the transfer of supply. Thus, from May 2024, Sunsundegui will take over the production of two of the Swedish automaker’s latest-generation bus models (the top-of-the-range 9700 and 9900 models), and will achieve a production rate of 2 units per day, for which a gradual process of between 9 and 12 months will be necessary. Moreover, it will involve the hiring of between 400 and 500 direct and indirect personnel over the next four years.

In turn, Sunsundegui maintains its current product portfolio and will continue to body on all chassis available on the market.

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