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Nissan vows to “maintain production at Sunderland” in major turnaround plan

Car maker Nissan has reaffirmed its commitment to the North East – despite incurring major financial losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The manufacturer has pledged to “maintain Sunderland as a production base” in a four-year turnaround plan aimed at resurrecting its global fortunes following the impact of COVID-19.

Its cost-cutting proposals include closing factories in Barcelona and Indonesia and lowering its number of models.

However, its Wearside site will continue “production of core models”.

Bosses revealed their blueprint today (Thursday, May 28) as they unveiled the company’s performance across the 2019 financial year, which saw significant losses.

According to it results, revenues dropped nearly 15 per cent from 11,574.2 billion yen to 9,878.9 billion yen, with operating profit swinging from 318.2 billion yen to a loss of 40.5 billion yen.

Ordinary profit plunged 91.9 per cent from 546.5 billion yen to 44 billion yen.

Speaking in a press conference, Makoto Uchida, Nissan chief executive, said the business’ four-year turnaround plan represented decisive action in reversing the effects caused by coronavirus.

He also reiterated its commitment to Sunderland, which directly employs more than 6000 staff and is responsible for making the company’s flagship Qashqai model alongside the Juke hatchback and all-electric Leaf.

“Our transformation plan aims to ensure steady growth instead of excessive sales expansion,” said Mr Uchida.

“We will maintain production of core models at our UK plant in Sunderland and improve efficiency.

“We considered various measures for the Barcelona plant and, although a very difficult decision, we intend to close the plant.

“We will concentrate on our core competencies and enhancing the quality of our business, while maintaining financial discipline and focusing on net revenue per unit to achieve profitability.

“This coincides with the restoration of a culture defined by ‘Nissan-ness’ for a new era.”

The company suspended production at its Wearside base in mid-March owing to the coronavirus outbreak.

However, bosses restarted castings and machining work in late April and plan to introduce a phased restart of vehicle production from June 8.