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On 18 June 2012, Spain notified the European Commission of its intention to grant regional aid to Ford Espańa.
Ford Espana is a subsidiary of the US car maker Ford Group. Ford Espańa plans investments for the development of a new car model (Ford Transit Connect) at the Almussafes plant. The Spanish authorities support this investment project with a grant at EUR 25.2 million distributed over 4 years, until 31 December 2014.
Previously, Spain supported the production of three new Ford models with a grant at EUR 41.7 million in 2009 and the production of another new Ford model with a grant at EUR 24.8 million in 2011.
The EC argued that: "The financial support given to Ford Espańa will relieve the company from costs which it normally would have had to bear itself and therefore the company benefits from an economic advantage over its competitors" (para. 41, Letter from the EC to Spain, Brussels 15.05.2013).
The EC concluded that: "The financial support from the Spanish authorities will be given for investments resulting in the production of vehicles. Consequently, the measure is likely to affect trade between Member States as it applies to a sector where such trade exists" (para. 42).
With respect to the affected competitors, the EC gives a list of the 'main substitute products', namely: 'Volkswagen Caddy, Citröen Berlingo/Partner, Renault Kangoo, Fiat Doblo, Opel Combo, and Nissan NV 200' (para. 81). The list of affected countries represents the origin of the competing companies.
A state measure in the GTA database is assessed solely in terms of the extent to which its implementation affects the extent of discrimination against foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory.
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