Nissan Sunderland's future secured by Brexit trade deal

Marco Green
January 23, 2021

The vehicle giant told BBC News it is set to move additional battery production close to the North East plant. Now the batteries are imported from Japan.

The future of Nissan's vehicle plant in the northeast England city of Sunderland was thrown into doubt in the wake of Britain's vote to leave the European Union in June 2016, a decision that could have led to tariffs and quotas on trade between the two sides.

Japanese vehicle maker Nissan has confirmed it will remain committed to its Sunderland plant in the northeast of England as a result of the post-Brexit trade deal reached between Britain and the European Union (EU), the BBC reported Friday. The model was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. "We anticipate that production will resume on Monday next week".

Some 70 percent of the cars made in Sunderland are exported and the vast majority of them are sold in the EU.

Seven in 10 of the cars made in Sunderland are exported, according to Nissan, and most of these are sold in European Union countries.

The last-minute free trade agreement struck on Christmas Eve means the auto industry avoided the immediate imposition of tariffs or quotas.

Chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta told the BBC that the Brexit deal had been "positive for Nissan" and an opportunity to "redefine automaking in the UK". "Brexit gives us the competitive advantage in the United Kingdom and outside", the auto executive added, referring to the city in the North of England where its British manufacturing is centred.

Moreover, Gupta announced that the carmaker will move to "localise the manufacture of the 62KW battery in Sunderland so that all our products qualify [for tariff-free export to the EU]", where they had previously been imported from Asia.

"But I think we have to be really aware that there is a huge amount of work to do to secure the longer-term future".

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that Nissan's decision to source batteries from Britain to avoid tariffs was a great vote of confidence.

Nissan's commitment followed more worrying warnings from the boss of Vauxhall's parent company last week.

The EU is Britain's largest trading partner.

The latest moves have prompted further calls from within the automative industry for substantial support for battery and other alternative fuel investment.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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