New Nissan Qashqai To Be Built In UK

Friday, Oct 28, 2016

Japanese car giant Nissan announced Thursday it will build its new Qashqai sport utility vehicle at its plant in Sunderland, northeast England, easing concerns about Brexit's impact on the industry.

"Nissan's decision follows the UK government's commitment to ensure that the Sunderland plant remains competitive," said a Nissan statement.

"As a result, Nissan will increase its investment in Sunderland, securing and sustaining the jobs of more than 7,000 workers."

It will also add production of the next four-wheel drive X-Trail model at the plant.

British Prime Minister Theresa May called the announcement "fantastic news for the UK", saying the carmaker was "at the heart of this country's strong automotive industry".

"It is a recognition that the government is committed to creating and supporting the right conditions for the automotive industry so it continues to grow -- now and in the future," she added.

"This vote of confidence shows Britain is open for business and that we remain an outward-looking, world-leading nation."

Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn warned in September that the company needed guarantees from London over Britain's vote to exit the European Union before it could commit to further investment at the factory in Sunderland.

Britain faces years of tough negotiations with EU members over its future trading terms with the bloc.

Ghosn met May for talks at her Downing Street office on October 14.

 Nissan's Brexit concerns

The Nissan plant in Sunderland is Britain's biggest car factory and the group's largest facility in Europe, also making the Juke and electric Leaf car models, with around 500,000 cars rolling off the production line every year.

"Our employees there continue to make the plant a globally competitive powerhouse, producing high-quality, high-value products every day," Ghosn said Thursday.

He welcomed May's "commitment to the automotive industry in Britain and to the development of an overall industrial strategy".

The plant has produced almost nine million cars since it opened in 1986 and now makes one in three cars manufactured in Britain.

Around 80 percent of vehicles produced in Sunderland are exported to more than 130 international markets, highlighting why any possibile trade tariffs with the EU were a cause for concern.

Ghosn revealed last month revealed that he had "explained our concerns very clearly" to the government.

"We are not asking for any advantage but we don't want to lose any competitiveness no matter what are the discussions," he said.

 Despite the threat, the area voted overwhelmingly in favour of leaving the European Union in June's referendum, with 61 percent of people in Sunderland siding with the "leave" camp.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said the announcement was vital for the region, whose economy has suffered from decades of post-industrial decline.

"The UK automotive sector has had a remarkable year - exporting over one million cars around the world," he said.

"This is thanks to our highly-skilled workforce, long-term investment in new technology and innovation and the strong partnership between government and industry as we develop together our industrial strategy."

In another boost for government, latest figures showed that Britain's economy grew by a better-than-expected 0.5 percent in the three months following the country's vote in favour of exiting the EU.


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