Legendary Spanish car brand is experiencing a revival

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Car brand Ebro

Many car brands have been featured in recent Spanish history. Think of Hispano-Suiza, Pegaso or Barreiros. But another car brand that initially mainly made trucks, tractors and industrial vehicles is now making a comeback with two new SUV models.

It concerns the car brand Ebro with roots that go back to the beginning of the last century. Then Ford started selling cars in Spain through an importer in Cádiz. In 1923, Ford even decided to produce cars in Spain and founded Motor Ibérica S.A. in Barcelona. This became one of the most emblematic companies in national automotive history. This business grew rapidly, reaching a peak in 1935 with the production of nearly 8,000 vehicles.

Establishment of Ebro as a state-owned company

The Spanish Civil War and Spain’s subsequent international isolation forced Ford to withdraw. In 1952, Ford Motor sold Ibérica to the Spanish state. This led to the founding of the Ebro car brand in 1954. The choice of the name Ebro is a reference to the largest river in Spain. The company thus followed the same strategy that Ford’s British subsidiary had used to market its trucks. They chose the name Thames, after the river that crosses London. Ebro initially focused on the production of trucks and tractors under license from Ford, but later expanded with a partnership with Massey Ferguson in the 1960s.

Golden years and decline

In the 1970s, Ebro experienced its golden years with a significant increase in exports and production. Trucks were even produced under license in Morocco. In 1980, Nissan acquired the shares of Motor Ibérica from Massey Ferguson. This subsequently led to the gradual demise of the Ebro brand. In addition, Kubota, a tractor manufacturer, also became a shareholder, further marginalising Ebro’s role.

Restart in 2023

After years of inactivity, Ebro came to attention again in 2023 during the Barcelona Motor Show, where the manufacturer introduced a new pick-up from the brand. The recent partnership with Chinese car manufacturer Chery marks Ebro’s final return. Production of the new S700 and S800 SUV models will take place in the Zona Franca, an important industrial centre in the south-west of Barcelona close to the port and airport. Companies that locate here benefit from excellent infrastructure and access to key transport corridors, which is essential for the export and import of goods.

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How is the new Ebro?

With an investment that could amount to around €70 million, Ebro will focus on the production of electric cars and trucks. This allows the brand to benefit from the second call from PERTE VEC, which gives it access to European Next Generation funds. In this way, the new Ebro plans to include 150 employees directly into its workforce. The new Ebro was unveiled in early 2022 with an electric pickup, the name of which has not yet been announced. Naturally, it will have the latest technology, connectivity and driver assistance systems, and the estimated price will be just under €60,000.

In Spain, the first Ebro model will compete with the Maxus T90 EV, as well as the electric versions of the Volkswagen Amarok and the Ford Ranger that will arrive in the coming years. The new Ebro also plans to expand its product portfolio in the future. This includes an electric last-mile van based on the Nissan e-NV200.

Also read: Spanish sports car manufacturer launches fully electric model in Germany

Based on these developments, Ebro seems ready to revive its historical heritage and become a major player in today’s automotive market by relaunching the brand with modern vehicles.

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