Nissan Pulls Model Production From UK Amidst Brexit Concerns

The Sunderland plant employs 7,000 workers but there was no mention of any layoffs relating to the X Trail decision

The Japanese carmaker announced yesterday the vehicle would be built exclusively in Japan, going back on a pledge made two years ago which would have seen it produced at the company's plant in Sunderland in the North East.

Shockwaves quickly spread to London, where Prime Minister Theresa May faces an uphill battle to agree a Brexit deal with Brussels as the clock ticks down to the planned March 29 departure date.

The FT quoted from a letter sent by business minister Greg Clark to then-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn in which he promises to protect the vehicle sector as Britain leaves the European Union.

The newspaper said the letter contained comments by Mr Clark that it would be "a critical priority of our [Brexit] negotiations to support United Kingdom auto manufacturers".

Britain on Monday will seek to reassure foreign investors anxious about Britain leaving the European Union after Japanese automaker Nissan said it was scrapping a major planned investment less than two months before Brexit.

"We will set our ambitions high and vigorously pursue continued access to the European market as an objective in future negotiations". The secretary told parliament Monday that as a result an offer of grants totaling 61 million pounds was made on June 21, 2018, and of them, 2.6 million pounds has already been paid.

Nissan, which builds 30 percent of the U.K's 1.52 million cars at its factory, the country's biggest auto plant, exports the vast majority of the vehicles to European Union countries and, like the rest of the industry, is anxious about tariffs if there is a no-deal Brexit.

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Yesterday Nissan confirmed that it has reversed a decision to build the X-Trail model at its Sunderland plant, reneging on a plan it announced - to much ministerial acclaim - in 2016.

Automotive manufacturers in the United Kingdom with diesel cars that fail to meet the latest emission standards now face a number of hefty levies.

The company says falling demand for diesel cars in Europe had forced it to invest in other technologies as the segment is hit by levies and crackdowns, warning two months before Brexit that uncertainty is also making plans harder.

Many Japanese companies had long seen Britain as the gateway into Europe, after being encouraged to open factories in the country by former prime minister Margaret Thatcher but Brexit has thrown that into doubt, prompting consternation in Tokyo.

"Unite will continue to press for further long-term guarantees over future investment and new models to secure the site's future for generations to come", said acting national officer for the automotive sector Steve Bush.

Sunday's news comes after the British automotive industry saw investment plunge previous year amid mounting concern about the impact of a hard Brexit.


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