The war on diesel that the Government of Pedro Sánchez and some municipal authorities launched during the past year has affected the production of automobiles in Spanish plants, whose performance fell by 1% last year. Specifically, in Spain a total of 2,819,565 units were manufactured last year, compared to 2,848,335 produced during the previous year.
A part of this decline is due to the war against diesel engines undertaken by the Government of Sanchez. Specifically, the statements made by Minister Ribera and her phrase that "diesel have their days numbered", caused a collapse in the registration of passenger cars powered by this type of fuel. In a short space of time, diesel, which accounted for approximately 70% of car sales in Spain, has gone to levels below 30%. Specifically, in January they represented 28% and in February 29%. Campaigns to restrict the circulation of populist town halls, which have also demonized diesel, have contributed to the crisis.
Given that approximately 70% of the vehicles produced in Spanish plants are diesel-powered, the drop in sales in the domestic market, which last year was 11%, directly affected the product manufactured in our country. This recession in demand could not be compensated by an increase in exports, since the foreign market has also suffered special circumstances. For example, Brexit has led to a decline in sales to Great Britain, traditionally one of the strongest markets for our foreign car sales. In 2018 a total of 2,304,418 units were sold abroad, representing a decrease of 0.6% with respect to the previous year.
Of the total Spanish production, 215,599 units were passenger cars, 268,003 light commercial vehicles, 228,668 were vans, 51,797 all-terrain vehicles, 37,003 light industrial vehicles, 10,879 heavy industrial vehicles and 7,616 tractor trucks. The latter are those that reflect a greater fall, with a decrease of 54% due to lack of activity of large companies, which are those that use this type of bulkier transport.
The lack of engines homologated with the new emissions of gases imposed by the EU and that should be mounted on vehicles manufactured from September has also contributed to the crisis. This lack of supply has forced to stop some assembly lines during specific periods and, with this, the production has decreased in the last quarter, until moving away in 180,000 units of the three million units, which was the objective that the Manufacturers in Spain for 2018.
The French group PSA is the main manufacturer of those established in our country thanks to the activity of its three plants, Vigo, Figueruelas (Zaragoza) and Villaverde from Madrid. PSA, which traditionally grouped the Peugeot and Citröen brands, increased its list of brands with the creation of the luxury DS firm and the acquisition of the Opel brand two years ago from General Motors. With this, the Figueruelas plant is counted within the group, which is close to one million cars manufactured in Spain.
On the other hand, the Seat factory in Martorell was the one that achieved a greater volume of production, with 474,300 units, ahead of the 447,514 of Figueruelas, the 398,333 of Vigo and the 380,575 that left the head of Almusafes, the factory of Ford in Valencia. The Catalan production leader plans to reduce its activity this year by 12,200 units. If to the figures of Martorell we add those of Landaben, in Navarra, the total sum is of 746,572 units, which are the ones produced in Spain by the Volkswagen AG group, which also owns the Seat brand. The plant of Landaben also has good expectations, since it has confirmed the production of a second model that will complete the assembly line next to the current Volkswagen Polo. As regards the so-called Alliance, which unites the Renault and Nissan brands, the combined figures reach 586,417 vehicles, including both passenger cars and commercial vehicles.