Nissan scraps plans to build new X-Trail in Sunderland

Nissan scraps plans to build new X-Trail in Sunderland

However, things have changed since then.

Britain promised Nissan up to 80 million pounds ($104 million) of support and offered Brexit-related assurances to help secure a major investment from the Japanese carmaker in 2016, according to a well-guarded letter released on Monday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit strategy took another blow on Sunday when Nissan Motor Co canceled plans to make its new SUV in northern England amid continued uncertainty over the country's future relations with the EU.

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.

The factory in Sunderland, which was opened to great fanfare by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1986, is Britain's largest with 442,000 cars built past year - nearly a third of total production in the country.

Nissan had been making the cars in sunderland since 1986 and it has nearly 7,000 people employed there.

He added that the support was to help Nissan develop electric auto technology, as opposed to being tied to the production of the X-Trail.

The government had previously refused to detail its arrangements with Nissan (NSANF), sparking concerns that a special deal had been struck to ensure continued investment at the company's massive plant in Sunderland. "Our workforce in Sunderland has our full confidence, and will continue to benefit from the investment planned for Juke and Qashqai", de Ficchy said.




"Therefore the company has chose to optimise its investments in Europe by consolidating X-Trail production in Kyushu".

Nissan has not exclusively attributed its decision to Brexit, saying that new emissions standards and the change in the diesel market as other contributing factors.

U.K. Business Secretary Greg Clark - a proponent of keeping close economic ties with the European Union - said Monday that Nissan regarded the risk of a no-deal Brexit as "a source of damaging uncertainty".

Nissan, which has made vehicles at its Sunderland since 1986 and employs about 6,700, in 2016 announced plans to build the cars for the European market at its plant there.

The development came after union leaders pressed Nissan for guarantees on jobs and future production.

"The letter, written in October 2016, shows Nissan and the United Kingdom government's continued desire to support investment in the United Kingdom and maintain Sunderland as one of Nissan's manufacturing hubs in Europe", the company said Monday.

The British vehicle industry has already seen a dramatic drop in investment since the vote, and business leaders have warned of further blows to the sector after the UK's withdrawal.

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