Nissan chose to produce the X-Trail both at Sunderland and Kyushu because "there was a good business case (at the time) for bringing production to Europe, as well", said Nissan Europe Chairman Gianluca de Ficchy. Our North of England Correspondent Clare Fallon has spent the day outside the UK's largest auto plant.
In a press release, the company says it has increased investments in new powertrains and technology for its future European vehicles since 2016 and therefore it "has chose to optimize its investments in Europe by consolidating X-Trail production in Kyushu".
The government said Nissan's decision was "a blow to the sector" but that no jobs would go as a result.
Gianluca de Ficchy continued: "We appreciate this will be disappointing for our United Kingdom team and partners". Nissan two years ago agreed to make the SUV in Sunderland after winning government pledges for access to the EU.
The Japanese car-maker had previously voiced concerns about Brexit, before committing to building the new Qashqai and X-Trail models at the north-east plant in October 2016. Research by the SMMT has indicated the catastrophic effects of such a no-deal scenario, with three-quarters of carmakers in the United Kingdom saying in latest analysis that a "no-deal" Brexit would hit their business, impacting on profitability and future investment.
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The virtual absence of public explanation about the benefits of European Union membership was exploited in the 2016 referendum by the leave campaign, and enabled its proponents to dismiss well-informed warnings, then and now, as scaremongering.
In a letter to workers, it said continued Brexit uncertainty is not helping firms to "plan for the future". "I will be asking for the government to intervene, and will stay in close contact with the company itself", she said. He added that 61 million pounds ($80 million) in grants subsequently pledged to the company in June past year "will only be awarded in line with the terms of the offer".
"This kind of support package to help in areas such as training and skills is typical across the industry".
A spokesperson for the government told the Times it would be reviewing the offer in light of Nissan's decision. However, as production ramps up over the years and older models are phased out, jobs invariably move to the alternate facility and the original factory suffers, experts have warned.
Nissan's change of heart comes just days after Britain's carmakers issued a stark assessment about Brexit's impact on the industry, warning that their exports are at risk if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without an agreement. To support this we are taking advantage of our global assets, and with X-Trail already manufactured in Japan, we can reduce our upfront investment costs. Brexit has thrown that into doubt, prompting consternation in Tokyo. Declines have been steepest for diesels like the X-Trail sport utility vehicle that's the subject of the Japanese giant's about-turn.