Financial Times report claims firm could cut Qashqai production from factory if UK departs EU without a trade deal
James Attwood, digital editor
1 October 2019

Nissan could close its Sunderland factory if the UK leaves the European Union without a trade deal, according to reports in the Financial Times.

The newspaper, citing three people with knowledge of the matter, reports a no-deal Brexit could prompt the Japanese firm to stop making the Qashqai SUV at the site – which could ultimately lead to the closure of the plant.

In November 2016, Nissan pledged to build the hugely popular Qashqai in the UK, after then-chairman Carlos Ghosn received assurances from then-prime minister Theresa May that the firm’s operations would be protected from the impact of Brexit – but the agreement was reportedly contingent on a ‘soft’ Brexit with an EU trade deal.

The FT claims that, under a global review Nissan has since undertaken, the Sunderland plant could be downsized or even closed if a no-deal Brexit makes it uncompetitive to ship cars from the site to the EU. Currently, Nissan also makes the Juke and Leaf models at Sunderland.

In a statement issued to Autocar, Nissan said: “While we don’t comment on speculative scenarios, our plans for Qashqai production in Sunderland have not changed.”

But the firm did warn that a no-deal Brexit could have a serious impact on British-based industry.

It added: “Since 1986, the UK has been a production base for Nissan in Europe. Our British-based R&D and design teams support the development of products made in Sunderland, specifically for the European market.

“Frictionless trade has enabled the growth that has seen our Sunderland plant become the biggest factory in the history of the UK car industry, exporting more than half of its production to the EU.

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“Today we are among those companies with major investments in the UK who are still waiting for clarity on what the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU will look like.

“As a sudden change from those rules to the rules of the WTO will have serious implications for British industry, we urge UK and EU negotiators to work collaboratively towards an orderly balanced Brexit that will continue to encourage mutually beneficial trade.”

Current prime minister Boris Johnson has said he is committed to the UK leaving the EU on the currently scheduled date of 31 October regardless of whether a deal has been agreed.

A no-deal Brexit would mean UK-built cars such as Nissan models made at Sunderland would be subject to tariffs when being shipped to Europe. But under a trade agreement between the EU and Japan, Nissan would be able to export models made in its home country into the EU without tariffs. That would potentially make it more profitable to make models for Europe in Japan rather than the UK.

Earlier this year, Nissan reversed a decision to make the next-generation of the X-Trail SUV at Sunderland, citing Brexit concerns and the decline of diesel as reasons. The plant also recently lost the Infiniti Q30 and QX30, after Nissan decided to withdraw its premium sub-brand from Europe

It has also cut back a number of jobs at the plant as part of a global cost-cutting initiative.

Nissan opened its Sunderland plant in 1986, and is believed to have invested more than £4 billion in it since then. The plant has recently been upgraded to prepare for the next-generation Juke crossover, which is due to go into production shortly.

Honda is in the process of closing its Swindon factory, in a move it says is not primarily due to Brexit. But BMW and Toyota have warned they could switch production from the UK in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

Read more

Report: Nissan could cut production shifts at Sunderland

Nissan scraps plans to build next-gen X-Trail in Sunderland

BMW boss reiterates Brexit UK pull-out threat

Opinion: Brexit is a problem for the UK car industry, whatever your stance

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Comments
23

1 October 2019

Cue a Brexiteers to say this is nothing to do with Brexit and everything to do with the Japanese EU FTA. Problem with that is Sunderland is the most efficient Nissan plant I. The world so still would be an odd decision if not Brexit related

1 October 2019
TStag wrote:

Cue a Brexiteers to say this is nothing to do with Brexit and everything to do with the Japanese EU FTA. Problem with that is Sunderland is the most efficient Nissan plant I. The world so still would be an odd decision if not Brexit related

Simple answer - which EU country did Honda move to? Which EU country did Nissan decide to build the X-Trail after they said it's not coming to EU?

If a car manufacturer pulls out the EU altogether, how the xxxx can that be due to Brexit?

People were given brains - if they refuse to use them and simply accept biased opinions no matter if that be pro Brexit or pro Remoan, then perhaps it's best to refrain from comment.

PS - get your facts right. Sunderland often cited as most productive plant in Europe or Nissan's most productive plant in the Western world. Japan is in the East. ( no doubt the brain-dead will argue that's wrong too ! ).

1 October 2019
scotty5 wrote:

If a car manufacturer pulls out the EU altogether, how the xxxx can that be due to Brexit?

You're in denial!   The question isn't moving to a different factory but that they now see a Japanese factory, with higher costs and labour shortages, as a better option than Britain.

 

Remember that's against a backdrop of having to build a new factory in Europe.   For Nissan they could move production to a Renault factory instead.   That tie-up could be used more effectively than it currently is.

2 October 2019
Symanski wrote:

scotty5 wrote:

If a car manufacturer pulls out the EU altogether, how the xxxx can that be due to Brexit?

You're in denial!   The question isn't moving to a different factory but that they now see a Japanese factory, with higher costs and labour shortages, as a better option than Britain.

Another person not using their brain. What part of the EU's new trading agreement with Japan don't you understand? The game changed, it's now benefitial to make cars back home.

And I'll repeat once again, if it had anything to do with the UK pulling out of Europe...  if Europe was such an attraction then the manufacturing base would simply move to another EU country, another EU country with cheaper labour rates.  But they're not doing that, they're moving out of the EU altogether. How can that have anything to do with Brexit?

2 October 2019
scotty5 wrote:

Another person not using their brain. What part of the EU's new trading agreement with Japan don't you understand? The game changed, it's now benefitial to make cars back home.

And I'll repeat once again, if it had anything to do with the UK pulling out of Europe...  if Europe was such an attraction then the manufacturing base would simply move to another EU country, another EU country with cheaper labour rates.  But they're not doing that, they're moving out of the EU altogether. How can that have anything to do with Brexit?

 

You're ignoring the cost of building another factory, and that's not to say that work hasn't already been moved from the UK factories to factories in Europe.   There are other Japanese factories in Europe and they're not closing.

 

But now it's no longer sustainable for Honda to continue to work in Britain when Britain will be as out of the EU as Japan, or more so.   If the UK were staying in the EU then that Swindon plant would have been updated for the electrification models coming out.   Honda were already starting to do that!

 

For Honda it was better to keep working with their higher costs in Japan where they struggle to find workers that it was to put up with Brexit Britain.   Let that sink in.

 

1 October 2019
scotty5 wrote:

TStag wrote:

Cue a Brexiteers to say this is nothing to do with Brexit and everything to do with the Japanese EU FTA. Problem with that is Sunderland is the most efficient Nissan plant I. The world so still would be an odd decision if not Brexit related

Simple answer - which EU country did Honda move to? Which EU country did Nissan decide to build the X-Trail after they said it's not coming to EU?

If a car manufacturer pulls out the EU altogether, how the xxxx can that be due to Brexit?

People were given brains - if they refuse to use them and simply accept biased opinions no matter if that be pro Brexit or pro Remoan, then perhaps it's best to refrain from comment.

PS - get your facts right. Sunderland often cited as most productive plant in Europe or Nissan's most productive plant in the Western world. Japan is in the East. ( no doubt the brain-dead will argue that's wrong too ! ).

The above proves Brexiteers believe any old rubbish fed to them. Suddenly we remainers are meant to believe that big car makers are queuing up to leave Britain because of factors unrelated to Brexit. What a load of clap trap. Gullible or what. There’s a reason the demographics of Leavers are as they are..... 

 

best of it is that it’s often Leavers in places like Sunderland that will suffer the most. 

 

Once the Tories deliver a no deal Brexit, Leavers will be first with the begging bowl and they’ll find the Tories will be first to ignore them! 

2 October 2019
TStag wrote:

The above proves Brexiteers believe any old rubbish fed to them.

{/quote]

Please state the source where the idea was fed to me? I'm engaging my brain. I don't care if we stay or leave, but it's obvious this has nothing to do with Brexit for reasons stated above.

TStag wrote:

Suddenly we remainers are meant to believe that big car makers are queuing up to leave Britain because of factors unrelated to Brexit. What a load of clap trap. Gullible or what. There’s a reason the demographics of Leavers are as they are...

Who mentioned all car makers? Name them...

Honda's leaving because their plant was only working at half capacity and it was beneficial for them to move back to Japan. This isn't peculiar to the UK or Europe, Honda has closed factories all over the world to move back to Japan. You however are not interested in world matters, you refuse to look outside the Brexit bubble.

And you're another one who makes no mention at all of the very important game changer - the new trade agreement between the EU and Japan which now makes it cheaper to import cars from their home country. Why do you think Honda / Nissan / Toyota set up plants in Europe in the first place?

Forget pro-brexit or pro-remain and just use common sense man.

 

best of it is that it’s often Leavers in places like Sunderland that will suffer the most. 

 

Once the Tories deliver a no deal Brexit, Leavers will be first with the begging bowl and they’ll find the Tories will be first to ignore them! 

1 October 2019

 Pro Brexit people, go read that again!, tell me you like think it'll any fairer.....

1 October 2019
Peter Cavellini wrote:

 Pro Brexit people, go read that again!, tell me you like think it'll any fairer.....

 

You haven't read it.   That "go read the Lisbon Treaty" comment has been busted so many times! You're making a fool of yourself going down that route.

1 October 2019

Remember that Sunderland was lined up to get a tie-up with Mercedes but they pulled out because of Brexit.

 

Brexit is going to kill of the British car industry.   Honda have already decided to leave even though they had ships sailing with plant to upgrade their factory!  

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