Speaking at the Paris motor show, Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn said: "If I need to make an investment in the next few months and I can’t wait until the end of Brexit, then I have to make a deal with the UK government. If there are tax barriers being established on cars, you have to have a commitment for carmakers who export to Europe that there is some kind of compensation."
Crucially, Ghosn isn't yet threatening to pull a car from production in Sunderland, but does wants compensation if the UK leaves the EU single market and the EU imposes tariffs on exported cars from the UK to the EU as a result.
Compensation is possible: the UK could - because it will no longer be restricted by EU law - reduce corporation tax for UK car makers or engineer some tax break deals on research and development. It’s thought that Ghosn made his announcement because he is aware of that fact.
Ghosn’s announcement confirms a previous story where he warned of grave implications for the plant in the event of a Brexit vote. Nissan has invested heavily in the plant in the past.
Such a move would be a blow to the UK’s car industry, because the plant accounts for a third of all Britain’s car exports, as well as one of the UK’s most prolific domestically-built models, the Qashqai.