In a boost for North-East manufacturing, Nissan have announced that they will continue manufacturing their best-selling Qashqai model at its plant in Sunderland, securing over 7,000 jobs in the region.
The news comes despite the recent warning from the company’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn, that they may pull out of the UK without compensation against the 10% tariff facing car manufacturers looking to export to the EU
As well as the Qashqai, Nissan’s best-selling model, the plant will also start producing the X-Trail SUV. In a statement, the company said it had received “support and assurances” from the UK government, seemingly to protect it in the event of the tariffs becoming applicable.
Tamzen Isacsson, director of communications and international at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “Todayâs announcement is good news for UK Automotive and jobs, and confirms Britain as a leading global destination for automotive production. To secure the industryâs long-term growth, we need government to quickly safeguard the conditions that have made the UK so competitive and attractive to international investors. Maintaining the UK within the single market, securing barrier free trade to foreign markets and guaranteeing access to talent from abroad are all essential if this industry is to continue to prosper.”
In other good news for the UK’s automotive industry, the worldâs largest-selling car manufacturer will not use Brexit as an excuse to move production out of the UK, according to a senior executive.
Didier Leroy, Toyotaâs chief competitive officer and executive vice president, said that he had trust in the UK government that it will offer fair treatment for all companies when looking to minimise the impact of Brexit.
His optimism is in stark contrast to many in the automotive industry, who see an impending âHardâ Brexit as a concern, as it could leave the country outside of the European Unionâs single market and facing a 10% tariff on exporting cars to the region. Toyota produce 190,000 Auris and Avensis models at its plant in Derbyshire. Of these, 75% were exported to the EU and only 10% remained in the UK.
Leroy said that the extra cost of any tariff would have to be offset by improved operational performance, because the customer would not accept paying that. Free access to the EU market will be crucial going forward, he added.
But, at the same time, does it mean that we should give up (its manufacturing operations in the UK)? I can tell you that we wonât give up and move to another country just because it will be easier. We have a fighting spirit and have trust in the people at our UK plant.