October 3, 2019 @ 13:36 by Richard Dawson
Nissan has denied reports it is reviewing plans to produce cars at its Sunderland plant in the event of a no-deal Brexit but issued a warning about its future in the North East.
The car manufacturer responded to an article in the Financial Times, which said that bosses at its global level were planning to reassess plans to make its Qashqai model at its Sunderland base.
The Qashqai makes up approximately three-quarters of the production at the North East plant, which employs around 7,000 people.
A Nissan spokesperson said: “While we don’t comment on speculative scenarios, our plans for Qashqai production in Sunderland have not changed.
“Since 1986, the UK has been a production base for Nissan in Europe. Our British-based R&D and design teams support the development of products made in Sunderland, specifically for the European market.
“Frictionless trade has enabled the growth that has seen our Sunderland plant become the biggest factory in the history of the UK car industry, exporting more than half of its production to the EU.”
Nissan has endured a tough time so far in 2019, reporting a 99 per cent drop in profits, as well as outlining plans for 12,500 redundancies, which didn’t include the Sunderland plant.
However, in February, it announced that plans to produce its X-Trail 4×4 model in the region were being scrapped as “a business decision”, fuelling uncertainty about the plant’s future after Brexit.
While Nissan reaffirmed its plans for the Qashqai in its recent statement, the company also issued a warning about its future beyond Brexit.
The spokesperson went on to say: “Today we are among those companies with major investments in the UK who are still waiting for clarity on what the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU will look like.
“As a sudden change from those rules to the rules of the World Trade Organisation will have serious implications for British industry, we urge UK and EU negotiators to work collaboratively towards an orderly balanced Brexit that will continue to encourage mutually beneficial trade.”