Shelved Nissan plan fuels concerns in Britain

Shelved Nissan plan fuels concerns in Britain

Clark said 740 new jobs were due to be created by the X-Trail investment but none of the existing workforce would be hit by the decision to pull the model, which will exclusively be built in Japan. However, things have changed since then.

The decision - an obvious blow to the United Kingdom auto sector - comes at a time when investment in the United Kingdom automotive sector has taken a nosedive, down 46.5% to £588.6m ($770.5m) past year compared to 2017, as carmakers wait for greater certainty over future trade with Europe and evaluate the future of diesel sales, which have also dropped sharply.

"We can reduce our upfront investment costs" by consolidating X-Trail production in Kyushu, the production hub for this global model, Nissan Europe Chairman Gianluca de Ficchy said in a statement.

Meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May at the time, a deal for new investments, in exchange for state support for R&D, has already been concluded.

"We should actually be majoring on what Nissan do to help tomorrow's vehicle industry this country and in Europe, rather than building something that Europe does not want".

It did not announce how many additional jobs would have been created by the addition of the X-Trail line, but the decision not to go ahead with the plan is not believed to affect the current workforce at the plant, instead impacting potential future employment opportunities there.

However, earlier this week it confirmed a decision to move production to Japan.


The up to £80 million of support for skills, research and development, and innovation, was contingent on the new Qashqai and X-Trail models being built in Britain, Clark wrote.

Nissan employs 7,000 people at the Sunderland plant - its largest in Europe - which has produced cars since 1986.

U.K. Business Secretary Greg Clark - a proponent of keeping close economic ties with the European Union - said Monday that Nissan regarded the risk of a no-deal Brexit as "a source of damaging uncertainty". Declines have been steepest for diesels such as the X-Trail.

Nissan has not exclusively attributed its decision to Brexit, saying that new emissions standards and the change in the diesel market as other contributing factors.

But the letter, which the government refused to publish on multiple occasions, had prompted accusations that ministers were doing secretive deals with firms, prompting some Brexiteers to question whether pledges made might keep Britain tied to EU mechanisms such as the customs union.

"The ongoing backlash against diesel. has affected not just Nissan but other companies here, and that's exacerbated the other problems faced by the industry as a whole", Wells added. Our North of England Correspondent Clare Fallon has spent the day outside the UK's largest vehicle plant.

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