Nissan is set to cut hundreds of jobs at its Sunderland factory due to declining demand for diesel-engined cars, according to reports.
It is unclear exactly how many jobs will be lost due to the layoff, which was reported by the Financial Times. Around 6700 people are currently employed at the Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK (NMUK) plant, which produces the Qashqai, Juke, Leaf and X-Trail, along with the Infiniti Q30 and QX30.
The rapid decline in demand for diesel – in the UK, sales of diesel cars fell by 37% in March – is understood to be behind the move. Around a quarter of the cars produced at Sunderland are diesel-engined.
A spokesman for NMUK said the job cuts are linked to the facility “transitioning to a new range of powertrains”. He added: “As we make the operational changes to support this, we will be managing a short-term reduction in powertrain supply and plant volumes at NMUK in line with our 2018 business plan.”
The new Leaf is being built at Sunderland, one of three worldwide Nissan plants producing the second-generation electric vehicle.
While Nissan has previously said the failure to agree a deal over Britain's departure from the European Union could lead to the Sunderland factory's closure, the spokesman said the move was "not related to Brexit" and added that volumes are expected to increase at the plant when the new Juke, Qashqai and X-Trail are launched in the coming years.
Jaguar Land Rover recently cut 1000 contracted agency workers at its Solihull plant due to the fall in diesel sales.