Nissan scraps plan to build new X-Trail model in Britain

The failure of Britain's government so far to negotiate a smooth exit plan from the European Union has made car manufacturers less willing to use Britain as a European manufacturing centre

The failure of Britain's government so far to negotiate a smooth exit plan from the European Union has made car manufacturers less willing to use Britain as a European manufacturing centre

Nissan will be forced to reapply for £61m of taxpayer support after backtracking on a promise to built its X-Trail SUV in Sunderland.

A senior Nissan boss blasted Brexit "uncertainty" as he confirmed that the company had scrapped plans to build the X-Trail 4x4 at its Sunderland plant, but said that the decision had been taken for "business reasons".

In 2016, the carmaker said it would build the new model in the United Kingdom after "assurances" from the government.

"The real danger is, in the long run, we're going to see "death by a thousand cuts" and the industry becomes, essentially smaller and smaller, and thereby loses scale and competitiveness", warned Oxford professor Matthias Holweg, who specialises in manufacturing and operations management.

Nevertheless, shortly after McVey's appearance on Nigel's show, Nissan's Europe division boss Gianluca de Ficchy announced that the decision was a mixture of investment needed for emissions regulations and reduced sales forecasts and that added uncertainty over Brexit had also played a part.

In Britain alone, new auto sales slid in 2018 on weak demand for diesel vehicles, as consumers continued to ditch diesel cars for automobiles seen as more environmentally friendly.

Whist the company claims that existing production and the nearly 7000 jobs at the plant are safe, the decision to cancel X-trail production at the site - which was expected to create hundreds of new jobs - has caused a great deal of concern. United Kingdom voters chose to leave the European Union in a referendum in June 2016.

"I believe their advice should be listened to so the automotive industry... can seize the opportunities for Britain to be a world leader".

Some commentators argue that the recent sacking of disgraced Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn likely also prompted the decision.

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"The current backstop is toxic to those of us living in Northern Ireland", Foster told BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday.

It would see the United Kingdom enter into a temporary customs union with the EU if no trade deal is sealed by the end of a transition period after Brexit, which lasts until December 2020 and could be extended to the end of 2022.

Nissan first said four months after Britain voted in June 2016 to leave the European Union that it would manufacture a new model of the SUV in Britain, which was seen as a major vote of confidence in the country's manufacturing future.

The giant is a major employer in the city, a former industrial powerhouse that has suffered decades of economic decline.

The Nissan (7201.T) announcement comes less than a month after Jaguar Land Rover and Ford (F) announced thousands of job cuts at United Kingdom factories.

He told talkRADIO's Julia Hartley-Brewer: "I have had it up to here with this".

"If you have no trade (deal) with Europe then it might make more sense that you produce them in Japan and ship them from over there".

But in Brussels there was little sign of a willingness to reconsider the Withdrawal Agreement.

Mrs May will say: 'The measure of this moment in Northern Ireland's history must be more than whether we avoid a return to the challenges of the past. "That's a big worry for the industry".

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