Nissan cites Brexit as Sunderland loses new model

Nissan Motor Company announced on Sunday that its next-generation X-Trail for the European market will be produced in its Kyushu plant in Japan — not at its Sunderland plant as previously announced.

Nissan Europe chairman Gianluca de Ficchy said while Nissan made the 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.

“This model was previously planned for production in Sunderland, UK, as announced in 2016,” said Nissan.

“Since that time, Nissan has increased its investments in new powertrains and technology for its future European vehicles.

“Therefore the company has decided to optimise its investments in Europe by consolidating X-Trail production in Kyushu, the production hub for this global model.

“Other future models planned for Nissan Sunderland Plant – the next-generation Juke and Qashqai – are unaffected.”

Nissan Europe chairman Gianluca de Ficchy said: “Nissan is investing heavily in new technologies and powertrains for the next generation of vehicles in our Sunderland plant.

“To support this we are taking advantage of our global assets, and with X-Trail already manufactured in Japan, we can reduce our upfront investment costs.

“We appreciate this will be disappointing for our UK team and partners.

“Our workforce in Sunderland has our full confidence, and will continue to benefit from the investment planned for Juke and Qashqai.

“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.”

Current production in Sunderland also includes the Nissan LEAF, Europe’s best-selling electric car, which reached a record 46,989 production last year, up 177% from the previous year.

The new Nissan LEAF e+ upgrade, including an extended-range 62kwh battery, launches in the coming months.