Nissan's Brexit 'sweetener': Who said what and when?

The Sunderland plant employs 7,000 workers but there was no mention of any layoffs relating to the X Trail decision

The Sunderland plant employs 7,000 workers but there was no mention of any layoffs relating to the X Trail decision

But the pledge depended on continued production of the Qashqai and X-Trail models at the carmaker's Sunderland plant, the Financial Times reported. Nissan said investment for next-generation models is unaffected by the decision to cancel the X-Trail.

The vehicle giant, which employs 7,000 people on Wearside, said its new diesel X-Trail originally planned for Sunderland would now be made in Japan.

Business Secretary Greg Clark was also due to make a statement to parliament on Nissan as Brexit supporters and opponents fiercely debated whether the decision was motivated by Britain's impending withdrawal from the EU.

Esther McVey insisted that Nissan's decision was nothing to do with Brexit, but Nissan's Europe boss later confirmed that Brexit uncertainty had played a part. Nissan's executive vice president for manufacturing and supply change management, Hideyuki Sakamoto, pointed out that: "A model like X-Trail is manufactured in multiple locations globally and can therefore be re-evaluated based on changes to the business environment".

Explaining Nissan's decision yesterday, Europe Chairman Gianluca de Ficchy said: "Nissan has increased its investments in new powertrains and technology for its future European vehicles".

For this reason, the announcement that following reassurances from the government Nissan would be investing in its plant in Sunderland, in north east England, and building the new X-Trail there was a rare ray of sunshine. The current government framework agreement envisages leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union., Nissan's former CEO Carlos Ghosn hinted that he would seek compensation if auto exports to Europe were subject to tariffs.

"It will be a critical priority of our negotiation to support United Kingdom auto manufacturers and ensure that their ability to export to and from the European Union is not adversely affected by the UK's future relationship with the European Union".

The department revealed the package of support it offered Nissan after the firm announced yesterday that it would reverse its pledge to build the auto at the plant.

Mr Ramsbotham said: "The automotive sector in this country is vitally important and needs to be protected".

Sunday's news comes after the British automotive industry saw investment plunge a year ago amid mounting concern about the impact of a hard Brexit.

In November 2016, Ghosn had told Business Insider that he needed "to be reassured on the competitiveness" of post-Brexit Britain, but declined at the time to say whether the company had been offered anything to keep the factory open.

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