Nissan is the UK’s top automobile producer and right now, the manufacturer is deciding if they want to produce the next generation Qashqai at the Sunderland plant in light of Brexit.
Currently, the factory is Britain's largest car plant employing around 6,700 people. Their future employment is dependent on the factory’s competitiveness despite Brexit. Businesses are concerned after Britain voted to leave the European Union in June as they could be facing a 10% tariff on cars slated for the EU market.
Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn is “not asking for any advantage [from the British government], but we don’t want to lose any competitiveness no matter what the discussions." Nissan has received reassurance from the British government as Ghosn has admitted that the government will be very cautious regarding the preservation of the plant’s competitiveness.
Nissan producing the Qashqai outside of Britain could prove disastrous as one in three vehicles produced in the UK last year was from the manufacturer and more than half of them were exported to Europe. The UK will need to give Nissan enough incentive to stay or risk losing future Sunderland plant investment from Nissan. Ironically, according to The Irish Times, around 61 per cent of votes from Sunderland during the referendum favoured leaving the EU.
The final decision will be made next month and production of the next generation Qashqai is expected to start in 2018 or 2019.