Currently reading: Nissan Sunderland plant “unsustainable” without a Brexit deal
Nissan’s global operating boss says recent commitment to UK is dependent on tariff-free EU access
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2 mins read
3 June 2020

Britain’s largest car factory may still not have a future if the UK leaves the European Union without a trade detail in place, Nissan has stated. 

The Japanese firm’s Sunderland plant, which employs 7000 workers and made 350,000 cars last year, received a boost last week when Nissan confirmed it is committed to making it the centre of its European production operations.

However, the company's global chief operating officer claims that it's still at risk if a no-deal Brexit occurs. 

Ashwani Gupta told the BBC: “You know we are the number one car maker in the UK and we want to continue. We are committed. Having said that, if we aren't getting the current tariffs, it’s not our intention, but the business will not be sustainable. That’s what everybody has to understand”. 

Despite closing plants in Spain and Indonesia and claiming a commitment to Sunderland last week, Nissan describes its European business as “non-core”. The brand has a 3% market share across the region. 

Gupta also refused to confirm earlier reports that Alliance partner Renault would take up spare manufacturing capacity to build platform-sharing models at Sunderland, stating it was a matter for the French car maker.

Of Sunderland’s total output, 70% is promptly exported and sold in EU markets. If the UK doesn’t secure a trade deal and defaults to World Trade Organisation rules, those exports would most likely be subject to a 10% tariff.

Brexit talks between the UK and EU have resumed this week.

The UK has until the end of June to decide if it wishes to request a Brexit extension, which the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has stated would be considered. 

READ MORE:

Nissan announces major cuts, but Sunderland plant safe

Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi to increase technology sharing

The UK car industry's 2021 Brexit timebomb

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Dave Ryan 4 June 2020

Not new, but still not good

As others have said, this isn't a new statement from Nissan. They've been consistent about this since the Brexit vote. All the same, it's not good that this is still on the cards despite the presumed shot in the arm which the Barcelona closure was portrayed as at times.

Question will be how important the jobs in Sunderland and its suppliers are to the current Government, and what they're prepared to accept to secure them. How that will play out is anyone's guess, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a good outcome. Otherwise, that's going to be a pretty seismic blow to the area to say the least.

Pietro Cavolonero 3 June 2020

and yet..

Japan signs a free trade agreement with EU, Turkey builds Fords for Europe.  Why is the UK being held to ransom? We are one of the biggest ecomomies in the world yet have to get our begging bowl out? Hmmmm...

Slowmo 3 June 2020

And yet

The UK has decided to walk away from the Japanese free trade agreement. Hmmmm. And we ruled out a customs agreement with the EU like the one Turkey has. Hmmmm. Maybe we have our begging bowl out because the Great British public managed to put itself in a position where it could only choose between a lying philandering journalist or a middle-class socialist with barely an O-level as prospective leaders.

I genuinely hope we make a success of Brexit, but if we don't we've only got ourselves to blame.

Slowmo 3 June 2020

There'll be winners and losers

There'll be winners and losers from brexit, on both sides of the new border, but forsaking the largest trading bloc in the world will result in the UK losing more than it gains. Hopefully the architects of brexit retain power for long enough to manage the withdrawal. I hope they make a success of it, but regardless of whether they do or don't, they should be the ones that own the outcome for better of worse. The striker that wins the penalty should take it.

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