Nissan could put the brakes on UK investment

Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn presenting the Nissan IDS concept self driving vehicle at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show on 27 October, 2015
Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn warns that tariffs could endanger Nissan's operations in the UK.

The boss of Nissan has warned that uncertainty over Brexit and the possibility of tariffs could deter further investment from the company.

Nissan chairman and CEO, Carlos Ghosn has said that if a tariff was introduced following Brexit then the firm would need “compensation”.

Ghosn also stated that the planned investment of £100m at Nissan’s plant in Sunderland would be put on hold until Brexit negotiations are concluded.

The plant in Sunderland is currently the largest car plant in the UK and produces more than half a million cars a year,with  80% of the vehicles it produces each year exported, most of which is to Europe.

Nissan and Renault entered in to a global alliance recently and, despite the fact the both carmakers have plants elsewhere in Europe, the Sunderland plant is the most efficient and profitable.

Speaking at the Paris Motor Show, Ghosn said that, “important investment decisions will not be made in the dark,” and added that he had “no idea” if Brexit would change the economic circumstances at the plant.

The plant employs 6,700 people and supports around another 20,000 people in the local supply chain and Ghosn clarified that,”We would like to stay; we’re happy, we have a good plant, which is productive but we cannot stay if the conditions do not justify that we stay.”

Nissan is expected to announce where it will produce its new Qashqai vehicles early next year.

This comes after recent announcements from the Japanese government and other car manufacturers from the country that the terms of Brexit will play a huge role in their future investment in the UK.

The Japanses foreign ministry published a report that suggests Japanese firms may relocate to other European countries depending on what the exit terms might be. 

The general manager for Honda Europe, Jean Marc Streng also told the BBC recently that he wanted a “fast decision” on Brexit and that “Then what we need is free trade.”