Nissan unveils £52m production line - but warns of continuing Brexit uncertainty

发布时间:2020-07-02编辑:admin阅读(354)

Car giant Nissan has unveiled a new £52m production line at its Sunderland manufacturing plant, but warned that it is still considering “three options” over the UK’s departure from the EU.

A production press weighing more than 2,000 tonnes has been unveiled by Nissan’s chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta. The press has taken 18 months to install at the Sunderland factory, and is part of a £400m investment by Nissan in readiness for production of the new Qashqai model.

The investment comes as Nissan is waiting on the UK’s future trading arrangements with Europe, and Mr Gupta said the company is hoping for a best case Brexit scenario that would see no difference to the UK’s trading arrangements with Europe.

But he also reiterated a warning issued by Nissan at the end of last year that its business model was “not sustainable” in the event of a Brexit that put up major barriers to trade between Britain and Europe.

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Nissan is among a number of automotive manufacturers which fears Britain reverting to WTO rules on car exports, which would both add to the price of models and disrupt the complex supply chains on which its production processes rely.

Mr Gupta said: “We have three options. The first option is Brexit happens with existing status, which means we have no impact on what we are doing today in terms of business.

“The second is if Brexit happens with an impact on our business, the question isn’t about this plant, it’s that our whole business model is not sustainable.

“Number three is Brexit happens with the current conditions but with additional qualifying criteria. If those criteria are to bring more competitiveness in the country, we are always open to work on that.

Nissan unveils £52m production line - but warns of continuing Brexit uncertainty 甘肃快3 第3张Nissan chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta unveils a new press at its Sunderland plant (Image: publicity handout from Nissan)

“On the other side, the Juke is a great success and today we’ve announced the new press targetting the new Qashqai. We have sold more than 150,000 Leafs.

“So if you see how we are progressing in this market, where Nissan is number one automotive manufacturer, that’s why I’m here today: to meet the team, make them proud of what they’ve done and say we have to consider the reality of those three options.”

Mr Gupta said that one of Nissan’s main strengths was its agility, which means it was well placed to deal with disruption to its business that could come as a result of the UK’s Brexit negotiations.

But the automotive industry has been alarmed by Government insistence on “divergence” with the EU, insisting that zero tariffs with Europe are needed for it to survive.

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Mr Gupta was speaking after officially launching a new press at the Sunderland plant, which is part of a £400m investment by Nissan to help it produce the new Qashqai.

The press - which weighs more than 2,000 tonnes and has taken 18 months to install - includes a new recycling system to segregate and process scrap. It is capable of stamping more than 6.1m vehicle panels a year, with a maximum combined force of 5,400 tonnes.

Steve Marsh, vice president for manufacturing, at Nissan Sunderland, said: “Watching the first perfect panels coming off the press was a proud moment, and is a reflection of the tremendous skills we have here on Wearside.

“Juke is an iconic model. I know I speak for the whole plant in saying how proud we are to see the fantastic new version out on the roads, and that we are determined to keep delivering it to the quality levels our customers have come to expect.”

The investment has also been welcomed by the Unite union, whose national officer Steve Bush said: “The reaffirmation of this already announced investment of £400 million in a new production press at the Sunderland plant is a welcome confidence booster for the 6,000-strong workforce.

“In challenging economic times, such investment by Nissan is warmly welcomed and a big vote of confidence in the world class, highly skilled workforce that has an excellent record in producing world-class cars.

“Unite looks forward to working closely with the management in the future so that our strong relationship, built up over recent decades, continues to flourish.”

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