Portugal to break truck production record in 2022

  • ECO News
  • 25 October 2022

Mitsubishi Fuso factory expects to produce 12,000 units this year, surpassing the previous record achieved in 2000.

Portugal will break the truck production record this year. The fault lies with the Mitsubishi Fuso factory, a heavy production unit located in Tramagal, which Daimler owns and has the Japanese brand as a shareholder. In 2023, the plant will debut in series production of heavy electric vehicles.

“Against all expectations, such as the semiconductor crisis, the increase in freight prices and Covid-19, we are going to have a record number. We are preparing to produce 12,000 units in 2022. We are happy with that”, announces Arne Barden, the German in charge of this factory, located 150 kilometres from Lisbon.

The current production record of the Fuso factory dates back to the year 2000 when 11,714 units were manufactured. “We cannot change the wind, but we set the sails in the right direction. We acted appropriately: in the most difficult moments, we prepared incomplete vehicles, which we are now finishing – and which allowed us to keep the factory running,” says the German manager.

ArneBarden took over as president of the Fuso factory in Tramagal in January of 2022 but only moved to Portugal at the beginning of March. The manager previously led the supply chain of the Japanese brand, which is in the hands of the Daimler automotive group, one of the world’s largest.

With around 500 workers, the European Fuso plant “is small by Daimler standards, where the group’s car plants usually have 10,000 to 14,000 employees”. However, for Arne Barden, that is not necessarily a bad thing.
“This plant is very focused and has a clear and specific purpose: to manufacture trucks for the European market. We do that with full attention and very close to perfection. We are not distracted here. There is no research and development [concentrated in Japan], no sales area, and no funny stuff. We are excellent at making vehicles. Full stop.”

In addition to being exported to the whole of Europe, the light trucks manufactured in the municipality of Abrantes also have Morocco, Australia and New Zealand as destinations. For strategic reasons, in 2020, the project to manufacture non-powered, petrol-powered units for the United States was abandoned.