Nissan is “satisfied” with the trade deal agreed between the UK and the European Union, according to the firm’s UK managing director.
In a letter sent to dealer managers late last week and seen by Autocar, Andrew Humberstone outlined that the deal “finally gives us some certainty and enables us to plan for the future success of our collective operations across the region”.
Nissan’s Sunderland plant was previously described as “unsustainable” In the event of a no-deal Brexit by the company’s global chief operating office, Ashwani Gupra. But the future of the factory, which employs 7000 people and has recently received a £400 million investment to build the upcoming third-generation Qashqai, now looks more secure.
Sunderland “will continue to build cars despite the UK lockdown”, Humberstone revealed, after an overhaul of the factory’s operations during the first lockdown last year. The factory also builds the Juke crossover and Leaf electric hatchback.
Humberstone also claims Nissan's future in Europe is “strong”, countering reports that the Japanese manufacturer will gradually reduce its presence in what is one of the world’s toughest new car markets.
“The brand will continue to follow the Nissan Next plan and deploy it in Europe, and any speculations counter to this are baseless and inaccurate," he wrote. "This strategy is supported by our two pillars of electrification and out crossover line-up.”
The MD went on to list the arrival of the new Qashqai and the Ariya electric SUV during this year as two opportunities to bolster sales. Nissan UK itself managed to increase its market share despite a 22% reduction in registrations, reflecting even deeper falls from other companies.
Nissan Next, a three-year transformation plan announced earlier this year, will have the company work to substantially reduce is fixed costs and reduce production capacity by 20% globally. Growth strategies will be focused on Japan, China and North America, with business to be “sustained” in Europe but focused on core model segments: higher-margin models, such as SUVs.