Sunday 16 June 2019

'It's obviously very disappointing' - Nissan scraps plan to build new X-Trail model in Britain

The Nissan factory in Sunderland (Owen Humphreys/PA)
The Nissan factory in Sunderland (Owen Humphreys/PA) Business Desk Business Desk

Nissan's decision to scrap plans to build its next-generation X-Trail model in northern England is "very disappointing", Theresa May's spokesman said on Monday.

The carmaker says falling demand for diesel cars in Europe had forced it to invest in other technologies as the segment is hit by levies and crackdowns, warning two months before Brexit that uncertainty is also making plans harder.

"It's obviously very disappointing. The company has confirmed that no jobs will be lost and they remain committed to the UK," the spokesman told reporters.

The company said it will produce it solely in Japan, warning two months before Brexit that uncertainty over Britain's departure was making it harder to plan for the future.

Falling demand for diesel cars in Europe has forced Nissan to invest in other technologies and save costs.

 It cut hundreds of jobs at its Sunderland factory in the north of England, Britain's biggest car plant, last year as output slumped 11pc, hit by levies and crackdowns on diesel.

"Nissan has increased its investments in new powertrains and technology for its future European vehicles," the firm said.

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"Therefore the company has decided to optimise its investments in Europe by consolidating X-Trail production in Kyushu."

"While we have taken this decision for business reasons, the continued uncertainty around the UK's future relationship with the EU is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future," said Nissan Europe Chairman Gianluca de Ficchy.

In a letter to workers, de Ficchy said Nissan has a task force that reports to him and is "considering all of the possible scenarios and the potential impact on the business."

Nissan builds roughly 30pc of the country's 1.52 million cars and exports the vast majority to the continent

It said four months after Britain voted to leave the EU in June 2016 that it would manufacture the new X-Trail in Britain - a major vote of confidence in the country and May, shortly after she took office.

The new X-Trail could have created hundreds of jobs.


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