Nissan will re-evaluate its Sunderland plant post-Brexit, says CEO

Nissan will re-evaluate its Sunderland plant post-Brexit, says CEO

NISSAN will review the competitiveness of its car plant in Sunderland once the final outcome of Brexit negotiations becomes clear, the Japanese company’s chief executive has said.

The car manufacturer announced in October that it was investing in production of new Qashqai and X-Trail models at Sunderland after receiving Government assurances that EU withdrawal would not affect the plant’s competitiveness.

Speaking to reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, chief executive Carlos Ghosn said the company trusted Prime Minister Theresa May’s assurance, but added that Nissan would want to ‘re-evaluate the situation’ once the final deal is concluded.

According to the Reuters news agency, Mr Ghosn said: ‘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?”

‘We are 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 it is.’

The Wall Street Journal reported him as adding: ‘In the meantime, we are going to continue to run Sunderland with the assumption that Sunderland will remain competitive no matter what is the outcome of Brexit.’

And he told French TV channel BFM Business: ‘When (Mrs May) says ”We will preserve the competitiveness of Sunderland after Brexit”, we trust her.’

Earlier this week, Mr Ghosn said that Mrs May’s announcement that she would take the UK out of the European single market and seek a comprehensive free trade agreement with the remaining EU was ‘not a surprise’ and ‘does not change the decision’ to continue investing in Sunderland.

The Government has denied it offered a ‘sweetheart deal’ to Nissan to secure the future of the Sunderland plant – which makes one in three of all cars manufactured in the UK – but has so far resisted calls to publish the ‘letter of comfort’ sent by Business Secretary Greg Clark.

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