MPs express dismay over Nissan's Brexit move

A letter from the chairman of Nissan Europe to Sunderland factory staff, which has been obtained by Sky News, confirmed the news and telling them the model will continue to be made in Japan.

The leader of Sunderland City Council has called on the Government to do "everything in its power" to secure the future of the United Kingdom automotive industry, following the news that Nissan will be moving production of one of its new vehicles to Japan.

However, Nissan has now said it's chose to consolidate X-Trail production in Kyushu, Japan, which means it can reduce its upfront investment costs.

The Qashqai is the best-selling British-made vehicle worldwide and the Sunderland plant exports more than 80% of its Qashqai output.

Nissan said it took the decision on the X-Trail for business reasons, with continued uncertainty surrounding future United Kingdom.

Nissan said four months after Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016 that it would manufacture the new X-Trail in Britain - a major vote of confidence in the country and United Kingdom prime minister Theresa May, shortly after she took office.

Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union on March 29, but United Kingdom politicians are divided over Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan.

No doubt Brexit chaos plays a part in Nissan's decision, but diesel woes are probably the biggest part of the decision.

"This is a great loss of future investment in Sunderland and I am sure that many people will share my huge and disappointment and concern at this news".

Nissan is investing heavily in new technologies and powertrains for the next generation of vehicles in our Sunderland plant.

"Other future models planned for Nissan Sunderland Plant - the next-generation Juke and Qashqai - are unaffected" by the decision, according to the statement.

He said Unite remains "seriously concerned" that "the apprenticeships and additional jobs that come with future investment and which this community so desperately needs will be lost".

Nissan is also expected to benefit from building these cars in Japan and exporting them to Europe since the two sides recently ushered in a landmark free trade deal.

Lord Digby Jones, a cross-party peer has said he has "had it up to here" with Brexit being blamed for businesses moving production out of the UK. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said investment had effectively "stalled" amid fears over the UK's future trading prospects and a slump in diesel auto sales.

The Nissan (7201.T) announcement comes less than a month after Jaguar Land Rover and Ford (F) announced thousands of job cuts at United Kingdom factories.

The UK's business minister, Greg Clark Clark, said 740 new jobs were due to be created by the X-Trail investment but none of the existing workforce would be hit by the decision to pull the model. The X-Trail production plans had been announced in the autumn of 2016.

  • Joey Payne