A report by Bloomberg alleges that an insider of the brand’s discussions with the Government revealed that Nissan told officials that the plant would eventually close, and the construction of the next-generation Nissan Qashqai and Nissan X-Trail would have been placed elsewhere.
The plant currently employs more than 7000 people and is the largest car producing facility in the UK. It was recently announced as the factory where the two new models would be produced, following negotiations with the Government. The results of these talks have since been declared as open to all car manufacturers in the UK.
Greg Clark, the UK's business secretary, is under pressure from the shadow cabinet to publish his letter to Nissan, but he has so far refused to do so, saying the letter contains "sensitive commercial information".
Clark’s letter to Nissan has become a contentious topic in parliament, as Labour MPs call for the publication of the Government’s deal with Nissan and other car makers. Clark said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show that UK car makers would be immune from any export tariffs that would come about as a result of Brexit, but it is as yet unclear if this is the full extent of the offer.
BMW and Honda have both announced that they see no reason to leave the UK as a consequence of Brexit. However, several manufacturers, including Ford, Honda and Suzuki, recently raised the prices of their cars in response to the fluctuating value of pound sterling.
A BMW spokesman said: "The situation regarding the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU and other countries remains uncertain. Uncertainty is not helpful when it comes to making long-term business decisions. However, unlike Nissan, we are not in the situation where a major UK investment decision needs to be taken imminently."
"Of course we continue to monitor the situation very closely but for the moment, the BMW Group continues to operate “business as usual” at its four manufacturing bases in the UK."
A Nissan spokesman claimed that this was not the case, but Autocar is waiting on an official statement from the brand. It is not yet known where else would have potentially produced the Qashqai and X-Trail, had a deal not secured Sunderland's production of the models.