Nissan confirms new models to be built in the UK

Nissan has announced that it will build its new Qashqai and X-Trail models at its plant in Sunderland despite the vote for Britain to quit the EU. The news has been seen as the first major endorsement by the automotive industry since the referendum result and has secured 7000 jobs at the plant.

“This vote of confidence shows Britain is open for business and that we remain an outward-looking, world-leading nation,” Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement.

Britain's big carmakers are nearly all foreign-owned and ship more than half of their exports to the other 27 countries in the European Union. They had collectively warned that the June vote would make Britain a less-attractive destination for foreign investment, and Nissan in particular had threatened to halt spending unless the government guaranteed it would be protected.

Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of Nissan, said: “I am pleased to announce that Nissan will continue to invest in Sunderland. Our employees there continue to make the plant a globally competitive powerhouse, producing high-quality, high-value products every day.”

He added: “I welcome Prime Minister Theresa May’s commitment to the automotive industry in Britain and to the development of an overall industry strategy.”

The British government has reportedly pledged to provide additional relief to Nissan in the event of any negative effect on its business resulting from Brexit. These assurances are said to have helped the firm bring forward its decision, which had originally been expected early next year.

Other carmakers, including Toyota, Hyundai and Vauxhall, also face decisions about whether to make new models in the UK. Today’s decision by Nissan and its assurances by the UK government may affect the speed and result of their decisions.