NISSAN’S SUNDERLAND plant would have closed if the car maker hadn’t struck a deal with the government following the UK’s vote to leave the EU. A report by Bloomberg alleges an insider revealed that Nissan told officials the plant would eventually close and that construction of the next-gen Oashqai and X-Trail would have moved elsewhere. The plant employs more than 7000 people and is the UK’s largest car making plant. It was recently announced that the factory would build the two new models following negotiations with the government.
Greg Clark, the UK business secretary, is under pressure to publish details of the negotiations with Nissan, but he has so far refused to do so, saying they would contain “sensitive commercial information”. BMW/Mini and Honda have said they see no reason to leave the UK as a consequence of Brexit. However, several car makers, including Ford, Honda and Suzuki, have raised car prices in response to the fluctuating value of the pound. A BMW spokesman said: “The situation regarding the UK’s future trade relationship with the EU remains uncertain.
Uncertainty is not helpful when it comes to making long-term business decisions. However, unlike Nissan, we are not in the situation where a major UK investment decision needs to be taken imminently. “We continue to monitor the situation, but for now, BMW continues to operate ‘business as usual’ at its manufacturing bases in the UK.” A Nissan spokesman denied that the Sunderland factory would have shut down.