The Ibiza number 15,000, ready to roll in Algeria
- SEAT on all five continents
- A factory located in north-western Algeria churns out 120 SEAT vehicles daily
- Algeria has become the country where SEAT deliveries have increased the most compared to the first quarter of 2017 and stands out as the fifth largest market by volume
- Beginning next summer the Arona and the Leon will also be assembled at the Relizane plant
At more than two million square kilometres in extension, Algeria is the largest country in Africa and the ninth most populous. The city of ‘Ighil Izane’, the Arabic name for Relizane, lies to the north-west, built on ancient Roman, Phoenician and Turkish remains. In some of the fields where cereal crops, grapes and cotton used to be harvested, today cars are being assembled that get distributed all over the country. The local population is heavily involved in this change: “With the arrival of the plant the entire region has been energised and jobs are being created. The locals are highly motivated”, says Salvador Soler, the Quality director at SOVAC in Algeria. This is how the plant operates which has assembled the SEAT Ibiza number 15,000 in the country:
-620 employees and one car every ten minutes: From first thing in the morning until late into the night, up to 120 cars per day are currently assembled on four production lines in the Relizane plant. 620 employees make it possible for a new car to leave the factory every ten minutes to be sold in the country.
-100% local workforce: “The employees are all from around here. They’ve all completed a four-month quality training programme”, explains Salvador Soler, who has been a part of the management team since the beginning. “This is a multicultural factory full of young people, where you can hear English, French and Arabic being spoken all day”, adds Soler.
-Quality controls throughout the entire process: “Up to 1,000 verifications daily of the bolted mountings and every single mechanism and fitting is double checked”, explains the Quality director. More than 50 technicians and a computerised system are involved in the assembly so that the vehicles, which are being made outside Europe for the first time, maintain the same quality standards.
-Driving on challenging surfaces: After checking the wheelsets and brake systems, the vehicles are ready to be driven for the first time on a special outdoor track: seven kinds of uneven surfaces that include simulated cobblestones and slick pavement. “This enables us to check the ABS and ensure that customers can safely drive in any prevailing road conditions”, points out Soler.
-The body paint, inspected in a light tunnel: “We know that the Algerian market is particularly discerning when it comes to the exterior paint finish”, comments the Quality director. For this reason, following the driving test the body surface is inspected again in the light tunnel, where deviations of as little as tenths of a millimeter or slight colour changes can be detected that are barely visible to the naked eye.
-Algeria, the fifth largest market by volume: SEAT sold 7,000 vehicles in the country until March, after sales began of the fifth generation Ibiza leaving the Relizane plant, making Algeria the country where deliveries grew the most compared to the first quarter of 2017, setting a new record, and establishing itself as the fifth largest market by volume. Moreover, the final assembly of the Arona and the Leon, both manufactured in Martorell, will be carried out in Relizane starting next summer, which will enable the sales volume to further increase in this market.