Nissan is not going anywhere.
Nissan must like us. Well in fact it does because executive vice president Andy Palmer told me so.
It isn’t every Monday morning that I spend enjoying a conference call with someone who has an important job. Whilst I decide whether to use a red or black Biro to take notes, he’s a qualified engineer with rather more crucial decisions to make.
So, in response to my last blog about Nissan’s relationship with the UK and Carlos Ghosn’s comments, Mr Palmer wanted to make the situation clear. The point he made strongly to me is that this was a hypothetical question to which the head of the company gave a fairly innocuous, non-committal answer.
I’ll agree with that, since I wrote there was already some pro-EU agenda spin being put on what was being said. It is the fact that these sorts of ‘Will they won’t they?’ stay in the UK questions seem to come up quite regularly, so it is time to scotch this kind of speculation.
“When the pound was strong against the euro, we had to adapt our strategy to change how we bought goods and the currency we used,” said Palmer.
Although the UK’s withdrawal from the EU or euro is a hypothetical question, Palmer was happy to consider alternative scenarios. “Well if there was still a free trade region then perhaps we would not need to do anything at all. Just as we have a regional head office based in Switzerland, which is not currently affected [despite it not being in the EU].”
“However, if withdrawal meant tariff barriers, then of course we would have to reconsider our position, which is what any business would do.”
There you go, it has been said, and hopefully it doesn’t have to be re-said, until there is an actual referendum and it won’t just be Nissan having to review its position.
At least Nissan realises the passion we all feel about manufacturing cars in the UK.