Nissan Europe chairman Gianluca de Ficchy warned on Thursday that a no-deal Brexit which led to 10% tariffs on exports would make Nissan’s European business model unsustainable, the Press Association reported.
Speaking at the UK’s biggest car plant in Sunderland, where Nissan’s production is due to start on the new model of the Juke, de Ficchy said the business was prepared for Brexit scenarios but could not plan long term.
Nissan employs more than 6,000 people at its Sunderland plant and supports around 35,000 UK jobs in total.
De Ficchy said a decision to stop night shifts at the Sunderland Nissan plant was not linked to Brexit.
Two-thirds of components for the Juke come from the EU and 70% of production is aimed at the continent.
De Ficchy said: “It is important to have some clear discussions about the future and about the situation in which we have to operate, which we have with Brexit.
“There has been many speculations about the current uncertainty. I wish to clarify the Nissan position about that.
“We have been working together in Europe to define all the risks associated with Brexit coming in and we think we are all really well prepared.
“I think from an operational point of view we have worked in order to prepare for all the different scenarios …
“If a no-deal scenario means the sudden application of WTO tariffs, we know in that case our business model won’t be sustainable in the future.
“Our industry works with lower margins and if we are in a situation in which tomorrow we have to apply 10% export duties to 70% of our production, the entire business model for Nissan Europe will be in jeopardy.
“That’s the reason why we continue to work with all scenarios.”
He added: “We know the workforce is concerned about that situation (Brexit) – we are also concerned.
“That’s the reason we are here – to express our concerns.”