Nissan, the carmaker, has confirmed that it is abandoning its plans to build its new fleet of SUVs in its Sunderland plant in favour of producing them at a Japanese plant amid the continued uncertainty regarding Brexit.
In 2016, Nissan revealed that it would produce the X-Trial, its next-generation SUV, in Sunderland to sell to the European market.
However, today, the carmaker confirmed that the production would now take place at its Kyushu plant in Japan. Nissan said that Japan was the “production hub” for the X-Trail model. The company noted that the plans to build the Qashaqi and Juke models in Sunderland would not be affected by the move.
Read more: X-Trail Production Plans Cancelled By Nissan
Some politicians immediately blamed Brexit for the carmaker’s decision. In a tweet, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, said: “The Conservatives’ botched negotiations and threat of a No Deal Brexit is causing uncertainty and damaging Britain’s economy.”
Vince Cable, the Lib Dem leader and former Business Secretary, said that the pulling out of the production was a “massive psychological as well as an economic blow for the north east.”
Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, said that while the announcement was considered as a “blow to the sector and region,” no jobs would be lost. He added that the UK government was “determined” that the United Kingdom would lead the way in autonomous and electric vehicles.
Gianluca de Ficchy, the chairman of Nissan Europe, stated: “Nissan is investing heavily in new technologies and powertrains for the next generation of vehicles in our Sunderland plant. To support this we are taking advantage of our global assets, and with X-Trail already manufactured in Japan, we can reduce our upfront investment costs.”
He added: “We appreciate this will be disappointing for our UK team and partners. Our workforce in Sunderland has our full confidence, and will continue to benefit from the investment planned for Juke and Qashqai.”
He continued: “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.”
Earlier this week, the Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT) released a warning against the “devastation” of a no-deal Brexit. It comes as it announced that the car production in the United Kingdom dropped to a six-year low amounting to 1.52 million units in 2018, while the investment was cut almost in half to only £589 million.