Nissan to make Brexit investment decision within weeks

October 24, 2016

Nissan will make a decision next month on whether to produce the next Qashqai SUV at its Sunderland plant in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the EU, chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn has said.

The decision will be the first major test of business confidence in the UK as companies face a two-year wait for clarity during negotiations on its future trading relationship with Europe. Discussions will only officially start when Article 50 is triggered by March 2017.

Qashqai production is expected to start in 2018, but the early decision reflects the time it takes to prepare factories to build a new car.

Ghosn met with UK Prime Minister Theresa May after he warned that all options were open for investment in the country following its decision to exit the EU. After the meeting he expressed confidence in plans for the UK’s post-Brexit economy.

The Sunderland factory, which builds the current Qashqai and many other models exported throughout Europe, is the UK's largest car plant, producing 475,000 vehicles last year, of which 80% are exported.

According to Reuters, Ghosn said: ‘We are not asking for any advantage [from the UK government], but we do not want to lose any competitiveness no matter what the discussions.’

He added that he had received reassurance that the UK government would be ‘extremely cautious’ in ‘preserving the competitiveness’ of the Sunderland plant.

He added: ‘As long as I have this guarantee [...] I can look at the future of Sunderland with more ease.’

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