Nissan scraps new SUV launch for Sunderland plant

Sunderland MP Julie Elliott

Sunderland MP Julie Elliott

But bosses at Japanese carmaker Nissan are set to renege on their promise to build a new auto model in the North East, in a major blow to the Prime Minister's Brexit plans.

The company's reported decision is likely to raise new concerns about the economic impact of Brexit, particularly for deprived parts of the country - less than eight weeks before the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union - with some global companies appearing reluctant to make further investment.

Tory Remainer Anna Soubry tweeted that it was "difficult not to be angry" at the reports, adding: "This is Brexit reality".

In the autumn of 2016, Nissan announced plans to build the new version of the SUV alongside its next-generation Qashqai.

According to Sky News' report, Nissan's decision is not expected to have a major impact on jobs.

Last month, Jaguar Land Rover said it would axe 4,500 jobs, with many of them management roles in the UK. Manufacturers are warning Ministers that leaving the European Union without a deal could destroy the industry.

The secretive deal with Nissan was struck in 2016, with Ministers refusing to reveal details beyond insisting it did not involve financial incentives for the company.

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However, Sky News reports that Nissan will announce on Monday that it is abandoning plans to built the X-Trail at the plant.

He said: "Twenty years ago we had these awful, blood-curdling threats about Nissan in Sunderland if we didn't join the Euro".

Nissan said back in 2016 that the X-Trail SUV auto would be produced on Wearside after receiving assurances from the Government.

Steve Turner of Unite has voiced concerns over the rumours which emerged earlier today. Our priority is to ensure investment commitments are upheld'.

It said an automotive analyst it spoke to cited Nissan's falling sales performance in Europe and a reduction in consumer demand for diesel vehicles as possible factors in the decision. But more concerning is that investment has collapsed in the past 12 months in the United Kingdom, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said the fall in investment was "deeply depressing" and should send a strong signal to politicians to secure a Brexit trade deal. While the MP for Houghton and Sunderland South said it is "deeply troubling news" for the area, it is not expected to hit jobs as it relates to future investment activity.

Other multinational giants including Airbus warned this week that British jobs could suffer in the event of an unfavourable Brexit outcome.

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