According to the Spanish government the country's ports will handle a total of 2.5m finished vehicles in 2014, up 7% over 2013. The minister for public works, Ana Pastor Julián (left), said that next year ports would handle 2.7m units, equivalent to an increase of 8%.

In the first seven months of 2014, automotive exports from Spain increased by 6.8%, accounting for 15.2% of all Spanish exports, and making it the country's biggest export sector overall. Automotive imports also increased, up 23.3%.

In terms of export markets, those to the European Union (EU) and the Eurozone in particular were up 4.5% and 4.8% respectively, with those to Germany (7%), Portugal (8.7%) and Benelux (12.7%) showing the strongest growth.

Significantly, exports beyond the EU, which account for 36.4% of the total, were down 3% year-on-year, due to a slowdown in several emerging markets. Spain has also been negatively affected by the appreciation of the Euro in the first few months of the year, making many exports more expensive.

However, there were exceptions. Exports to South Korea (105.4%), Taiwan (74.9%), Japan (19.6%) and the US (14.7%) showed strong growth.

In terms of Spanish regions, automotive plants in and around Valencia accounted for 10.6% of total exports, up 8.8%; Catalonia, with growth of 2.6%, now represents 25.2% of the total market; Castilla y León exports grew by 10.6% and accounted for 5.5%; and exports from Navarra were up 11.4% and now account for 3.4% of all exports.