Once again, Nissan has shown leadership in UK car manufacturing at exactly the moment it was most needed.
Thirty-two years ago it signalled a renaissance in British car manufacturing by building a mammoth plant in fresh car-making territory at Sunderland, just as British Leyland was beginning its terminal decline. This week, Nissan has underscored the UK’s continuing suitability as a car-making country by announcing not only that production of the next-generation Qashqai SUV will remain in Sunderland, but that it will be joined in due time by the larger X-Trail.
The decision will have deep implications. It will give UK negotiators something to fight with as they flesh out post-Brexit trade deals. It will help maintain the growth of the UK’s slowly expanding components supply industry, which government-industry bodies have worked so hard to revive in recent years.