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Nissan to cancel plans to make X-Trail SUV in UK: report

14 Comments

Japanese carmaker Nissan is cancelling plans to make the next model of its X-Trail sports utility vehicle in Britain, less than two months before the country is due to leave the European Union, broadcaster Sky News said on Saturday.

Nissan first said four months after Britain voted in June 2016 to leave the EU that it would manufacture a new model of the SUV in Britain, which was seen as a major vote of confidence in the country's manufacturing future.

The main production plant for the current X-Trail is in Japan, while Nissan's plant in Sunderland, northeast England, makes the smaller Qashqai SUV and other models.

"Precise details of Nissan's impending announcement were unclear this weekend, but sources said it was likely to initially involve abandoning the X-Trail production plans which had been announced in the autumn of 2016," Sky reported.

A UK-based spokesman for Nissan declined to comment.

Sky said the announcement due on Monday was not expected to lead to immediate job losses at the Sunderland plant, as the X-Trail is not currently made there, but would raise doubts about further Nissan investment in Britain.

As well as the X-Trail, Nissan said in 2016 it would build the next generation Qashqai SUV in Britain after receiving government assurances over Brexit, in what was seen at the time as a boost for Prime Minister Theresa May.

However, the failure of Britain's government so far to negotiate a smooth exit plan from the European Union has made car manufacturers less willing to use Britain as a European manufacturing center.

Investment in Britain's car industry halved last year, data showed on Thursday, and car production by Nissan in Britain fell by more than 10 percent.

Industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said leaving the EU on March 29 without a transition deal to preserve the smooth flow of parts and finished vehicles across EU borders would cause "permanent devastation" to the British car industry.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

14 Comments
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But it's all ok because now England will be free to make free-trade deals with countries such as Mongolia, Bhutan and the Seychelles...

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I've heard that Sunderland (and Northeast England) was one of the most Pro-Brexit areas of the UK. It's common knowledge that Nissan UK makes a massive number of cars chiefly for export to Europe. What, exactly, did these folks expect to happen in the case of leaving the EU customs union? And don't forget the thousands of components needed for each car, many of them imported into the UK from other countries, which will now be harder and more expensive to obtain.

Voting against economic self-interest in the name of cultural reasons is an American red-state specialty, but I guess that British folks can do it too.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Its just 'Project fear'! That's what the leavers keep saying as they continue to keep their heads in the sand as Project Reality comes into fruition.

Well the people of Sunderland were very vocal in just how proud they were at voting to leave the EU. Therefore they can now face the inevitable job losses that are coming their way. Especially as the EU and Japan have just signed that free trade treaty.

But its okay. Because as the households of Sunderland are struggling to pay their bills and feed their children. These middle aged men can tell their significant other how this is all the EU's fault and that its all just project fear. But he can cheer her up because at least we've got our blue passports!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The main issue is that the tax free reasons for producing vehicles in the UK may no longer be there. Producing vehicles in the UK was fine because they could be exported to other parts of Europe and tariffs would not be imposed. At the end of the day, companies are in business to make money and continuing production in the UK might be far more costly than moving the production site.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The X-Trail was never a very exciting vehicle. Could be a smokescreen, using Brexit as a reason to scrap an unprofitable line.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I remember driving the X-Trail and it sallows like a marshmallow ....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

NISSAN should focus on their best 2 cars in their struggles to survive: LEAF and GTR. Up the production greatly of both., and the range if models/spec/price. World-leading vehicles in their class. And make sure they have the “made in Japan” seal of quality. Toyota has the SUV market under control, X-Trail is no good.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I can see many Nissan models being cut from production both internationally and domestically. If the Renault deal falls through I can Nissan going into major financial troubles again, like it was a decade ago.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

People read too much into this.

Some thinks this is because the UK is leaving the EU.

However, that is not what this is. This is because there is absolutely NO certainty as to what the post-Brexit arrangement will be.

If Nissan knew that Brexit would be a hard Brexit, on WTO terms, then they would know what the equation is. But they don't know that.

And that is entirely the fault of the UK government and how they have handled the Brexit process.

And that is because Theresa May does not believe in Brexit and has acted as such.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ganbare - I agree. Nissan should focus on models that will help it survive and grow in hte future.

The SUV market is beyond saturated. The genre started by Toyota with it's RAV-4, has so many models of excellent quality across the auto world, that the commpetition will be fierce.The LEAF as you intonated is the way forward. They've got the jump on many companies re E-Vs, but will need to be on top of their r&d game to stay in pole position. An EV X-trail would be something to help them gain a marketing edge.

And re the GTR. I wouldn't overly produce such a model. It has an iconic history, a celebration of the best engineering and design for all of it's relevant release eras. It wasn't nicknamed the Godzilla by the foreign press for no reason. Part of it's worth and mystique is because of it's exclusivity. Dumbing it down to be cheaper and less tricky to sell more would be suicide.

And interestingly the poster models you mentioned - the LEAF, the peoples car and the revival GT-R, the enthusiasts car, both evolved due to the will and abilities of Ghosn, the man who is the only reason we're still talking about Nissan in the present.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The majority of the British wanted to separate from the European Union in the name of diversity.

They already have been treated by the E.U. with favours when they were part of the Union,but that wasn’t enough for them.

Now they have to face the consequences of such actions,and I agree with Juncker and Brussell that there should be given no more favours to them.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think what matters here is not so much the X Trail but the X Trail chassis that is used to make the Qashqai, a crossover that is a huge seller overseas. It was sold in Japan way back when as the "Dualis", but never took off. This model is Nissan's top seller in several big markets. In Japan their top seller is a kei car.

I'm from the North East and this is huge news. In Sunderland's defence, no-one there voted for No Deal or even leaving the single market. It was possible to leave the EU and remain in the single market. The decision to not do so was taken unilaterally by Theresa May. She said she wanted an end to Freedom of Movement, and that red line means leaving the Single Market. In the odd opinion poll that has asked this question, British people said that they only wanted curbs on EU immigration if it did not hurt trade. May says continually "Brexit means Brexit", but she is trying, and so far dramatically failing, to introduce her version with her red lines. No British person voted for any of these lines. Leaving the EU as voted for by the British people might have been a good idea but Theresa May's version is disastrous.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think what matters here is not so much the X Trail but the X Trail chassis that is used to make the Qashqai, a crossover that is a huge seller overseas.

I think this does affect only plans to build a new X-trail model at Sunderland. Currently, I think all X-trail models are built in Japan. As far as we know, Nissan still plans to continue to build the Qashqai in the UK (but who knows what will happen down the road).

Although there is a lot of talk that this X-trail decision is a consequence of Brexit, there is some thought that it may be a result of a drop in diesel engine vehicle sales across Europe. If there were to be increased demand for petrol-powered versions, it may be cheaper for Nissan to continue to make the vehicles in Japan. (This was from an article on the BBC. I've no idea how accurate it is.)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is Brexit the whole story for the reason behind this decision by Nissan?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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