Published: Mon, February 04, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Nissan new X-Trail to be made in Japan instead of Sunderland

Nissan new X-Trail to be made in Japan instead of Sunderland

The Japanese company refused to shed light on the situation.

"Nissan has increased its investments in new powertrains and technology for its future European vehicles", the firm said. May said on Sunday she would seek a "pragmatic solution".

'But we can not deny the inevitable role that Brexit plays here.

"The Tories' chaotic handling of the Brexit negotiations is having a devastating impact on business investment".

She said she would update constituents with information once she finds out more, and that "we must await official announcement from Nissan for the plans".

Nissan said it will produce the X-Trail only in Japan.

Ministers strongly denied any financial incentives were offered.

The Sunderland plant, which has been active since 1986, employs nearly 7,000 people and produces around 2,000 cars a day.

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.

Other models built at the Sunderland plant include the Qashqai, Juke, Q30, Note and the zero-emission electric Leaf.

The decision is another huge blow to the UK's auto industry which has been warning for years about the impact of Brexit uncertainty on top of other problems such as a slump in diesel sales.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said in June that investment in new models, equipment and facilities in the United Kingdom was $A625 million in the first half of the year, compared to $A1.1 billion in the same period of 2017 - a decrease of about half.

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Production of diesel cars was down by 22% to 561,000 past year.

The British vehicle industry has already seen a dramatic drop in investment since the vote, and business leaders have warned of further blows to the sector after the UK's withdrawal.

It comes after Ford confirmed on Friday that it would be cutting around 370 jobs at its Bridgend plant as it restructures its production across Europe and the United Kingdom.

The company said the "voluntary separation programme" at the Welsh factory is needed to cut costs and create a "sustainably profitable business" in Europe.

The latest blow from Nissan comes weeks after Britain's biggest carmaker, Jaguar Land Rover, announced it would reduce its global workforce by 4,500.

Most of the cuts will be in the United Kingdom, with a voluntary programme being launched, and are in addition to 1,500 workers who left the company a year ago.

Japanese firm Honda also announced six non-production days in April under contingency plans to mitigate the risk of disruption to production at its Swindon factory after the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

"Unite now expects the company to work with us to ensure full preparations for Brexit in which jobs and investment are prioritised, which can be best achieved by our representation on the task force established by Nissan, and through continuous dialogue between the company and the union".

He said Unite is "working hard to establish the truth behind current speculation", adding that they will be meeting the company on Monday to establish the facts.

"The continued uncertainty around the UK's future relationship with the European Union is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future", Nissan's Europe chairman Gianluca de Ficchy said in a statement, after explaining that keeping production in Japan would reduce "upfront investment costs".

While the MP for Houghton and Sunderland South said it is "deeply troubling news" for the area, it is not expected to hit jobs as it relates to future investment activity.

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