Nissan have confirmed that they are scrapping a multi-million pound investment in Sunderland following continued Brexit uncertainty. The new next-generation X-Trail car was to have been built in the city following an announcement which was made in 2016, but which has now been reversed.
In a statement Nissan said:
“Nissan Motor Company Ltd. today announced that the next-generation X-Trail for the European market will be produced in its Kyushu plant in Japan. This model was previously planned for production in Sunderland, UK, as announced in 2016.
Since that time, Nissan has increased its investments in new powertrains and technology for its future European vehicles. Therefore the company has decided to optimise its investments in Europe by consolidating X-Trail production in Kyushu, the production hub for this global model. Other future models planned for Nissan Sunderland Plant – the next-generation Juke and Qashqai – are unaffected.”
Nissan Europe Chairman Gianluca de Ficchy said:
“Nissan is investing heavily in new technologies and powertrains for the next generation of vehicles in our Sunderland plant. To support this we are taking advantage of our global assets, and with X-Trail already manufactured in Japan, we can reduce our upfront investment costs.
We appreciate this will be disappointing for our UK team and partners. Our workforce in Sunderland has our full confidence, and will continue to benefit from the investment planned for Juke and Qashqai. While we have taken this decision for business reasons, the continued uncertainty around the UK’s future relationship with the EU is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future.”
Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said in a statement:
“Nissan’s announcement is a blow to the sector and the region, as this was to be a further significant expansion of the site and the workforce. The company has confirmed that no jobs will be lost. They have reiterated today their commitment to the UK by continuing to manufacture in Sunderland the current Qashqai, Leaf and Juke models and the new Qashqai model from 2020.
The UK automotive industry is a vital sector for the British economy which draws on our combination of rich automotive heritage and cutting edge innovation. Its role in providing high skilled well paid jobs, innovative R&D and investment is why we are determined to build on these strengths to make the UK a leader in the next generation of autonomous and electric vehicles through the Automotive Sector Deal, as part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”