Nissan cancels X-Trail production in England

Olive Hawkins
February 7, 2019

Many remain MPs have said that Brexit uncertainty is to blame for Nissan withdrawing from plans to manufacture its X-Trail model in the UK.

Nissan officials announced Sunday they will not build their next-generation sport-utility vehicle at a plant in northern England.

"I don't think Nissan changed their mind because of Brexit". They cited stricter regulation of diesel-powered vehicles leading to less demand.

"The ongoing backlash against diesel. has affected not just Nissan but other companies here, and that's exacerbated the other problems faced by the industry as a whole", Wells added.

Meredith Crowley, a trade specialist economist at Cambridge University, said: "The risk is that the free trade agreement between the EU and Japan plus the uncertainty about the relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU will mean that the Japanese will ship things to the European and cut Britain out of the loop".

The support package, which committed the government to subsidising initiatives related to skills, R&D and innovation, was contingent on Nissan producing the Qashqai and X-Trail models at the Sunderland plant.

The Business Secretary Greg Clark was on Monday night facing criticism after it emerged that he offered Nissan an £80million Brexit sweetener despite previously insisting there had been "no chequebook" involved in the deal.

"I believe their advice should be listened to and acted upon".

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The world's biggest free trade deal came into force on 1 February and there are fears that Japan will stop using the United Kingdom as a manufacturing base, especially with a 0% tariff on auto imports built into the EU-Japan agreement.

Some commentators argue that the recent sacking of disgraced Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn likely also prompted the decision.

Business and Industry Minister Richard Harrington told BBC Newcastle that £60m already given to Nissan by the government would not have to be repaid.

"It was shortly after his demise I said. that we may see a re-evaluation of some of those investment decisions, that is exactly what we've seen".

The giant is a major employer in the city, a former industrial powerhouse that has suffered decades of economic decline.

This is a perfectly rational investment decision which was taken, in the words of Nissan Europe Chairman Gianluca de Ficchy, "for business reasons".

He said the workforce in Sunderland will continue to benefit from the investment planned for Juke and Qashqai. Nissan aims to optimize its investments in Europe by consolidating X-Trail production in Kyushu, the production hub for the global model, the company added. "At least you have a trade agreement".

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