Brexit blamed for Nissan's decision to move SUV production to Japan

Nissan's Sunderland plant employs 7,000 staff

Nissan's Sunderland plant employs 7,000 staff

Nissan is set to announce on Monday that it has changed plans to build the vehicle at its plant in Sunderland, northeast England, according to Sky News.

It sparked questions over whether a deal between the carmaker and the government had been struck, although ministers insisted that no "financial compensation" had been offered.

Current production in Sunderland includes the Nissan LEAF, Europe's best-selling electric auto, which reached a record 46,989 unit last year, up 177% from the previous year, according to the company.

Japanese firm Honda also announced six non-production days in April under contingency plans to mitigate the risk of disruption to production at its Swindon factory after the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, Bridget Phillipson, tweeted: "If confirmed, this would represent deeply troubling news for the north east economy".

The Sunderland plant, which has been active since 1986, employs nearly 7,000 people and produces around 2,000 cars a day. I will be asking for the government to intervene, and will stay in close contact with the company itself, ' she said.

"The Government's chaotic handling of Brexit has been the root cause of business uncertainty".

And Nissan is part-owned by France's Renault, which could move production to France in future to avoid any post-Brexit EU tariffs.

Coldest night of winter predicted amid Met Office snow and ice warnings
Mobile phone coverage could also be affected in rural communities, as well as a "small chance" of power cuts due to the weather. Commuters in many parts of the country were warned to leave work early on Thursday to ensure they got home.

The factory builds the Qashqai and Juke SUVs, along with the Nissan Leaf and Infiniti's Q30 and QX30 models, according to the Automotive News Europe Guide to European Assembly Plants.

The UK's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said leaving the European Union on March 29 without a transition deal to preserve the smooth flow of parts and finished vehicles across European Union borders would cause "permanent devastation" to the British auto industry.

British politicians have sharply criticized May's Brexit deal and voted it down in Parliament.

Sky News reported that a letter from the management to Sunderland's 7,000 factory staff said that the announcement would be "interepreted by a lot of people as a decision related to Brexit" and that "uncertainty around the U.K.'s future relationship with the European Union is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future".

Earlier this month American vehicle manufacturer Ford confirmed almost 400 jobs would be lost at its engine manufacturing plant in Bridgend.

‎Ford announced it was cutting jobs in the United Kingdom as part of a regional plan. "Our workforce in Sunderland has our full confidence, and will continue to benefit from the investment planned for Juke and Qashqai".

"The company has made a decision to optimize its investments in Europe by consolidating X-Trail production in Kyushu, the production hub for this global model", the company said in a statement on Sunday.

Business Secretary Greg Clark admitted: "Nissan's announcement is a blow to the sector and the region, as this was to be a further significant expansion of the site and the workforce".

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