Currently reading: Diesel, Brexit blamed as Nissan scraps plan to build X-Trail in Sunderland
Japanese firm reverses decision to build next-generation SUV at plant, citing diesel sales slump and Brexit uncertainty

Nissan has cancelled plans to build the next-generation Nissan X-Trail at its Sunderland factory, blaming the diesel sales downturn and Brexit uncertainty.

The Japanese firm announced plans to build the next generation of both the X-Trail and Qashqai SUVs at the plant in 2016, securing the future of the plant that employs around 6700 people. It did not announce how many additional jobs would have been created by the addition of the X-Trail line - beyond describing it as "hundreds" - 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. Supply chain investments will also be impacted.

Responding to the news, Business Secretary Greg Clark said that Nissan would need to reapply for nearly £60 million of taxpayer support that was offered in 2016 in return for the firm building the next-generation X-Trail, Qashqai and Juke in Sunderland.

Nissan also confirmed in its statement that future production of the Nissan Qashqai and Nissan Juke would remain at Sunderland, including next-generation models of those cars.

Citing the need to invest in future powertrain technology relevant to the Euopean market, Nissan 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.”

Nissan Executive Vice President for Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management, Hideyuki Sakamoto, added: “A model like X-Trail is manufactured in multiple locations globally, and can therefore be re-evaluated based on changes to the business environment. As always, Nissan has to make optimal use of its global investments for the benefits of its customers.”

Doubts about the future of the Sunderland plant, which currently produces the Juke, Qashqai, X-Trail and Nissan Leaf, along with the Infiniti Q30 and QX30, were raised after Britain voted to leave the European Union in 2016.

Nissan eventually committed to the plant’s future after then-chairman Carlos Ghosn struck a deal with the UK Government after a meeting with Theresa May in 2016. Speaking in the House of Commons following the announcement, Clark revealed the Government had pleaged nearly £60 million of taxpayer support to the firm, of which Nissan has so far received £2.6 million. The firm will be required to reapply for the rest.


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Clark also said that the making the new X-Trail in Sunderland would have created 741 UK jobs.

Earlier this year, Nissan cut a number of jobs at the plant, in a move understood to be related to a fall in their sales of diesel-powered cars. 

The news is another blow to the UK car industry, after confirmation that car production in the country fell 9.1% year-on-year in 2018. Speaking after that data was published, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders boss Mike Hawes said the industry was on "red alert" due to firms halting planned investment because of uncertainly over Brexit.

Read more

Nissan to build next-generation Qashqai and X-Trail in Sunderland (from 2016)

Nissan cutting hundreds of jobs from Sunderland plant

No Brexit deal would have led to Sunderland plant closure (from 2016)

James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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disco.stu 7 February 2019

Oh, maybe not.

Hmmm, apparently if you mention DPF on a Discovery Sport article, it gets blocked...

disco.stu 7 February 2019

Comments blocked?

I seem to have been barred...

Mistertee123 4 February 2019


"Nothing to do with Brexit" has replaced "Project Fear!" as the brexiteer's favourite catchphrase.

xxxx 5 February 2019

If you don't like the answer don't ask the question

Mistertee123 wrote:

"Nothing to do with Brexit" has replaced "Project Fear!" as the brexiteer's favourite catchphrase.

Opposed to the following quotes from remainers "who'll look after the old and infirm for £9.00 an hour", "who'll clean my BMW/ prepare my grainery wholemeal sandwiches", "clean the house in the Cotswolds whilst we're in Florida", "why is my second house value falling" etc.