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.
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.”