Economy, Auto

Nissan Balks Over Brexit

Nissan Balks Over BrexitNissan Balks Over Brexit

Nissan will review the case for future investment in the United Kingdom when the terms of the country’s departure from the European Union finally become clear, CEO Carlos Ghosn said.

Nissan said in October that it will ahead with plans to build the next X-Trail and Qashqai SUVs at its plant in Sunderland, northeast England, after obtaining written government assurances that Brexit would not be allowed to harm the site’s export competitiveness, Automotive News Europe reports.

Ghosn said earlier this week at the World Economic Forum here that the decision still stands but the automaker will assess the plant’s overall competitiveness, rather than focus on tariffs or other individual issues.

Speaking in Davos again on Friday, Ghosn said Nissan would re-examine the group’s investment strategy once the terms of Brexit become clear. The UK government has said it will trigger the two-year process for exiting the EU by the end of March.

“Obviously when the package comes, you are going to have to re-evaluate the situation, and say, okay, is the competitiveness of your plant preserved or not?” he told reporters.

Ghosn, who also heads Nissan’s alliance partner Renault, said he trusted and assumed that May’s government would ensure that Sunderland remained competitive whatever the final outcome of Brexit talks. “We’re going to have to make decisions on investment within the next two to three years. So obviously the faster the Brexit results come, the better,” he said.

May’s Conservative government has steadfastly rejected opposition demands that it publish the “letter of comfort” written to Ghosn by Business Secretary Greg Clark and first reported by Reuters in October.

Nissan and Toyota have both said they will continue to build cars in the UK but may take steps to increase their competitiveness if Brexit raises costs for their UK manufacturing operations.


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