Brexit played ‘inevitable role’ in Nissan X-Trail decision, says MP

Reuters
Reuters
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03 February, 2019

Carmaker Nissan has scrapped plans to build its new X-Trail SUV in Britain and will produce it exclusively in Japan, warning two months before Brexit that uncertainty over Britain's departure was making it harder to plan for the future.

In 2016 the carmaker said it would build the new vehicle in the United Kingdom after "assurances" from the government.

That reverses a decision in late 2016 to build the SUV at Nissan's Sunderland plant in northern England, which employs 7,000 workers. It's also yet another nail in the coffin of Britain's future as a global competitor in pretty much anything once we back out of the European Union in two months' time.

While Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, Bridget Phillipson, said if the move is confirmed it would "represent deeply troubling news for the North East economy".

Mr Turner said it is "beyond disappointing" that Unite members heard about their futures and the holding back of planned Sunderland investments through the media and not directly from the company.

It has been confirmed today that the X-Trail will instead be produced at its Kyushu plant in Japan.

"While we have taken this decision for business reasons, the continued uncertainty around the UK's future relationship with the European Union is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future".

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'So many jobs and livelihoods depend on Nissan's success'.

In the run up to the 2016 Brexit referendum, Nissan said it would prefer Britain to remain in the EU.

The factory builds the Qashqai and Juke SUVs, along with the Nissan Leaf and Infiniti's Q30 and QX30 models, according to the Automotive News Europe Guide to European Assembly Plants.

There had been concerns that Nissan - part-owned by France's Renault - could move production to France in future to avoid any post-Brexit EU tariffs. It cut hundreds of jobs at its Sunderland factory in the north of England, Britain's biggest auto plant, a year ago as output slumped 11 percent, hit by levies and crackdowns on diesel.

A report by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said investment had effectively "stalled" amidst fears over the UK's future trading with the EU.

The auto giant is a major employer in the region, a former industrial powerhouse that has suffered decades of economic decline, and which voted heavily in favour of Brexit. ‎Ford announced on Friday it was cutting 400 jobs at its engine plant in Bridgend, South Wales.

It followed a similar move by Jaguar Land Rover to reduce its 44,000 workforce by 4,500 under plans to make £2.5 billion of cost savings - with most of the cuts in the UK.


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