Nissan cancels plans to build the new X-Trail auto in UK

James Marshall
February 7, 2019

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.

Other industry figures insisted the X-Trail decision should be seen in the context of developments since the original announcement in October 2016 such as a sharp drop in demand for diesel vehicles and said that the Sunderland plant and its suppliers were well placed to capitalise on new technologies such as electric vehicles.

A letter leaked to the Financial Times suggested Britain promised £80million in support to Nissan as part of a major investment in the plant just four months after the Brexit vote.

Nissan said it opposed Brexit in 2016.

The government had to clarify its position after Business Minister Richard Harrington told the BBC that Nissan would get the £61m support payment.

"We will set our ambitions high and vigorously pursue continued access to the European market as an objective in future negotiations", Clark pledged in the letter.

An offer of grants totalling £61 million was made to Nissan in June 2018, Mr Clark revealed today.

Gianluca de Ficchy, the chairman of Nissan Europe, explained the manufacturer's decision by citing business reasons, in particular, the decrease in diesel sales across Europe and "reduced volumes forecast" for X-Trail in Europe.

Sunderland was a place to vote 70-30 to come out of the European Union.

Nissan now employs around 7,000 people in its factory in the English city of Sunderland.

Nissan has made a decision to build the new model of its X-Trail SUV in Japan instead of at its United Kingdom plant in Sunderland - a major blow to the region's economy.

The North East England Chamber of Commerce has responded to the news that auto manufacturer Nissan has chose to scrap plans to build one of its models in Sunderland. Greg Clark says they'd have to reapply, but presumably if Nissan says "give us the dosh or we're leaving entirely", it would arrive on a velvet pillow sealed with a kiss. Nissan's executive vice president for manufacturing and supply change management, Hideyuki Sakamoto, pointed out that: "A model like X-Trail is manufactured in multiple locations globally and can therefore be re-evaluated based on changes to the business environment".

"What this whole sorry saga shows is that the sector-wide uncertainty caused by Brexit urgently needs to be addressed by ministers because it is draining the industry of skills, investment and new jobs". Over the last few weeks we have seen similar moves from a string of vehicle makers and large businesses, especially with regard to continued free movement of components within the same industries.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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