Nissan scraps plan to build new X-Trail model in Britain

Nissan scraps plan to build new X-Trail model in Britain

The Nissan decision, first reported by Sky News, is a major setback for May's Conservative government, which had pointed to Nissan's 2016 announcement that Sunderland would make the SUV - months after the country's Brexit referendum - as proof that major manufacturers still had confidence in Britain's economic future.

Work on the Qashqai - which makes up the majority of Nissan Sunderland's work - is not expected to be affected.

Last year Nissan cut hundreds of jobs at the Sunderland factory in response to declining demand for diesel models. The site, which is Britain's largest auto factory, was opened 33 years ago and produces 2,000 vehicles a day, including the Nissan Leaf electric auto.

Nissan confirmed its change of heart days after SMMT, the trade group for Britain's auto industry, issued a stark assessment about the impact of Brexit, warning that exports are at risk if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without an agreement.

Its decision to produce the next-generation Qashqai and the new X-Trail model at the site had eased concerns about the future of the factory.

It secured thousands of jobs in the Brexit-backing city, but prompted a volley of questions over whether a the Government had struck a deal to protect the manufacturer from any post-Brexit EU tariff wall.

Ministers strongly denied any financial incentives were offered and Chancellor Philip Hammond said any costs arising from the assurances would be small enough to be covered within the Department for Business's spending limits.

Nissan employs nearly 7,000 people at the plant, which has produced cars since 1986.

More news: Former Manchester United target on his way to Arsenal? Maybe!

But according to Sky News, Nissan's impending announcement is not expected to have a major impact on jobs.

The factory builds the Qashqai and Juke SUVs, along with the Nissan Leaf and Infiniti's Q30 and QX30 models, according to the Automotive News Europe Guide to European Assembly Plants.

Nissan is part-owned by French manufacturer Renault, which had led to concerns that production could be moved to France to avoid any tariffs which might be introduced on exports to the European Union if the United Kingdom leaves the single market in a hard Brexit.

The group's chief executive, Mike Hawes, described the threat of a no-deal Brexit as "catastrophic".

‎Ford announced it was cutting jobs in the United Kingdom as part of a regional plan.

"The company has made a decision to optimise its investments in Europe by consolidating X-Trail production in Kyushu, the production hub for this global model", the company said in a statement.

Sky said the announcement due on Monday was not expected to lead to immediate job losses at the Sunderland plant, as the X-Trail is not now made there, but would raise doubts about further Nissan investment in Britain.

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