Nissan will need to reapply for United Kingdom government funding: Greg Clark

07 February, 2019, 04:30 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • The Sunderland plant employs 7,000 workers but there was no mention of any layoffs relating to the X Trail decision

"Grant support for training and development and environmental improvements were applied for and authorized ... on the basis that both the Qashqai and the X-Trail models would be built in Sunderland", Clark informed parliament. However, Nissan had once said production of the X-Trail in Sunderland would create hundreds of additional jobs at the complex.

Details of the offer emerged in a previously unseen letter from October 2016 in which Mr Clark said that Nissan would receive the funding as long as it built two new models at its plant in Sunderland.

The EU insists that the current deal "remains the best and only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal", and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Sunday that "if the British want to avoid a disorderly Brexit, our offer is on the table".

The continued uncertainty over Brexit "is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future", said Nissan Europe Chairman Gianluca de Ficchy.

Nissan's decision to divert investment from the United Kingdom has triggered a measured reaction after the joint French and Japanese conglomerate withdrew a plan to develop a next-generation X-Trail SUV plant in the UK.

The letter said: "It will be a critical priority of our negotiations to support United Kingdom vehicle manufacturers, and ensure their ability to export to and from the European Union is not adversely affected by the UK's future relationship with the EU".

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Nissan's X-Trail will not be built at the company's plant in England due to "uncertainties" surrounding Brexit.

"Its role in providing high skilled well paid jobs, innovative R&D and investment is why we are determined to build on these strengths to make the United Kingdom a leader in the next generation of autonomous and electric vehicles through the Automotive Sector Deal, as part of our modern Industrial Strategy".

It is another sign of the decline of British automotive manufacturing, on which Fleet Europe reported last week. Brexit uncertainty has since prompted consternation in some boardrooms in Tokyo.

Other future models planned for the Sunderland plant - the Juke and Qashqai - are unaffected.

"Unite will continue to press for further long-term guarantees over future investment and new models to secure the site's future for generations to come", said acting national officer for the automotive sector Steve Bush.

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