Published: Mon, February 04, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Japan's Nissan abandons plans to build X-Trail model in UK

Japan's Nissan abandons plans to build X-Trail model in UK

Japanese vehicle manufacturer Nissan confirmed it was cancelling plans to build its X-Trail SUV at its plant in northeast England despite Brexit assurances from the government.

The Times reports that the Government is now considering withdrawing a £60m package of support for Nissan after being given less than 24 hours' notice of the firm's decision.

The U-turn comes as figures show auto production slumped by nearly a tenth previous year, leaving the industry on "red alert" amid continued Brexit uncertainty.

Carlos Ghosn, the company's former chairman, previously said Nissan would not make further investments when it does not know what Britain's future trading arrangements will be, and that if leaving the European Union significantly raises costs and trade barriers, Nissan would consider reducing its British operations. It has been active since 1986 and is Britain's largest vehicle factory, making it one of the region's key employers.

Britain's business minister, Greg Clark, described the announcement as a "blow to the sector and the region".

"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 on Saturday (Feb 2).

Meanwhile, PM May has said she will seek a "pragmatic" Brexit deal that can win over both the European Union and her own lawmakers when she returns to Brussels for talks. That plant will continue to make Nissan's Juke and Qashqai models. "I think Brexit is clearly a major factor".

On Monday the premier will launch a new government working group meant to unite the feuding pro- and anti-Brexit factions within the party, according to May's office. Parliament voted last week to give May more time to try to iron out a compromise with the bloc.

Critics of the backstop - including Tory euroskeptics and the DUP - fear the United Kingdom will be tied into the EU's trade rules permanently, while Northern Ireland could end up splitting away from the mainland British economy.

Speaking to the BBC on Sunday, Javid said border enforcement officials told him now available technological systems mean there's no need for checkpoints and other infrastructure on the U.K.'s land border with Ireland after Brexit.

May's goal is to maintain the backing of pro-Brexit politicians in her Tory party, and members of the small Democratic Unionist Party, so she can get a deal through Parliament in a vote she's aiming to hold later this month. "Can technology solve the Irish border problem?" "Short answer: not in the next few years". The government expects negotiations to go down to the wire, leaving the threat of a chaotic no-deal split that casts a shadow over companies right up to next month's deadline.

He told Marr that the Tories were only planning for a local election to take place in May as planned, adding: "I think the last thing this country needs is a general election".

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