Nissan has confirmed it is shifting production of the X-Trail sport-utility vehicle from its big plant in Sunderland, England, to Japan.
In a letter to workers, it said continued Brexit uncertainty is not helping firms to “plan for the future,” according to the BBC. In 2016, the then-Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn said the company would build the new model in the UK after “assurances” from the government, the BBC said.
Unions described the news as “disappointing” and said they were “seriously concerned.”
The government said Nissan’s decision was “a blow to the sector” but that no jobs would go as a result. However, Nissan had once said production of the X-Trail in Sunderland would create hundreds of additional jobs at the complex.
(Ford laying off 1,000 workers in Great Britain. Click Here for the story.)
Nissan has made cars at Sunderland since 1986 and employs almost 7,000 people.
In its announcement, Nissan noted that since 2016 “the environment for the car industry in Europe has changed dramatically”, including “changing emissions regulations,” which put substantial pressure on vehicles with diesel engines.
In the United Kingdom, diesel cars that fail to meet the latest emissions standards now face a levy and a number of European cities also have announced bans on both new diesel and gasoline vehicles in the future.
“While we have taken this decision for business reasons, the continued uncertainty around the UK’s future relationship with the EU is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future,” Nissan officials added.
(Click Here for details about Jaguar Land Rover’s plans to eliminate 4,500 jobs.)
Jacob Rees-Mogg, a member of Great Britain’s Conservative Party and an outspoken supporter of Brexit, said Nissan had “all sorts of problems that are nothing to do with Brexit”, including “very considerable corporate governance problems” arising from the arrest of ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn, who has been in a Tokyo jail since the middle of November.
Production of the Qashqai – the best-selling crossover vehicle in Europe – makes up the majority of the current work at Sunderland.
A number of carmakers operating in Great Britain, including Jaguar Land Rover, Ford Motor Co., Toyota and Vauxhall have expressed fears of disruption to their supply chains in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Ford and JLR also have moved to eliminate hundreds of jobs in the United Kingdom in response to the slowing sales of new vehicles that have been one of the results of the decision to leave the European Union.
(To see how the uncertainties of Brexit are impacting other automakers, Click Here.)
However, officials also noted that Nissan is not preparing to cut employment in Sunderland. “The company has confirmed that no jobs will be lost. They have reiterated today their commitment to the UK by continuing to manufacture in Sunderland the current Qashqai, Leaf and Juke models and the new Qashqai model from 2020,” British officials said in response to the announcement.