Nissan scraps plan to make X-Trail SUV in United Kingdom factory

April FrancisFeb 05, 2019

The vehicle industry of the United Kingdom is set to endure yet another blow in the coming week when Nissan announces that it will be cancelling the plans of the company to manufacture its X-Trail model at its Sunderland plant.

"It is a massive psychological blow as well as an economic blow", Liberal-Democrat Party leader Vince Cable said on "Sophy Ridge on Sunday" on Sky News before Nissan confirmed the decision.

Britain secured the Nissan investment just four months after the June 2016 vote to leave the European Union with promises to maintain the competitiveness of the plant. United Kingdom voters chose to leave the European Union in a referendum in June 2016.

"Nissan is investing heavily in new technologies and powertrains for the next generation of vehicles in our Sunderland plant", de Ficchy said said.

In a letter to workers, its chairman Gianluca de Ficchy said the decision was not just about Brexit, but added "clearly the uncertainty around the UK's future relationship with the European Union is not helping companies like ours to plan". Its original plan, announced in 2016, was seen as a big vote of confidence in post-Brexit Britain.

May is seeking a seemingly impossible compromise between the minimal changes that Brussels says it will consider, and the radical rewrite that euroskeptics in her Conservative Party are demanding.

"Thank you for employing 5,000 people in Sunderland".

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The Business Secretary said in a letter to Rachel Reeves, who chairs the Business Select Committee, that a package of support included skills, research and development and innovation. Nissan's decision, she said, was "confirmation ... that within the whole of Europe, the United Kingdom was the most attractive country - politically and economically - for large-scale investment".

A spokesperson for the government told the Times it would be reviewing the offer in light of Nissan's decision.

"While I'm pleased the decision taken in 2016 to build the Qashqai and secure the Sunderland plant is unchanged, it's deeply disappointing to me and to the workforce that the extra jobs that would have come from the X-Trail will no longer be available".

The company claims that the future models planned for production in the United Kingdom, like the next-generation Juke and the Qashqai, have been left out of the current production cut decision.

Auto manufacturing in Britain has been going through a hard patch but Nissan's decision to withdraw its investment in the north east of England could be seen as an important milestone in determining more than where its next model is built.

The short answer is that it's likely down to a number of things, but there's no doubt Brexit has been significant. Nissan saw the business case for that, as have 1,000 other Japanese companies and other carmakers now using the United Kingdom as their European base.

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