Government Admits Nissan Was Offered A Massive Brexit Handout
Feb 07 2019
The auto giant announced in 2016 that it planned to build its X-Trail model in Sunderland, but will now assemble it instead at Nissan's global production hub in Kyushu, Japan.
Business minister Richard Harrington conceded the decision was "a disaster" and that Brexit was partly to blame. Nissan will need to reapply if it seeks more support, Clark said.
"It will be a critical priority of our negotiation to support United Kingdom auto manufacturers and ensure that their ability to export to and from the European Union is not adversely affected by the UK's future relationship with the European Union".
Clark said in the 2016 letter that government had already been able to confirm £22m of support for the foundry at Sunderland to become a European development centre for the firm's alliance with fellow carmakers Renault and Mitsubishi.
A day after the Japanese manufacturing giant pointed a finger at Brexit as it abandoned plans to build a new model at the factory in northeast England, the 47-year-old cleaner was questioning her decision.
The world's biggest free trade deal came into force on 1 February and there are fears that Japan will stop using the United Kingdom as a manufacturing base, especially with a 0% tariff on vehicle imports built into the EU-Japan agreement.
Nissangate continues with the news that as previously suspected, the government had offered Nissan a huge pile of cash to manufacture its new vehicle in the UK. The chairman of Nissan Europe, Gianluca de Ficchy said: 'We appreciate this ... Nissan's recent move appeared to be completely contrary to its initial statement followed by initiation of Brexit proposals dated back to July 2016, when it first said, that, they would be preparing a new model of SUV in United Kingdom, just after four months of the 2016's Britain vote that sealed an approach to propel forward with a divorce deal.
But the pledge depended on continued production of the Qashqai and X-Trail models at the carmaker's Sunderland plant, the Financial Times reported.
However, earlier this week it confirmed a decision to move production to Japan.
Automotive manufacturers in the United Kingdom with diesel cars that fail to meet the latest emission standards now face a number of hefty levies.
Many Japanese companies had long seen Britain as the gateway into Europe, after being encouraged to open factories in the country by former prime minister Margaret Thatcher but Brexit has thrown that into doubt, prompting consternation in Tokyo.
Union representatives met Nissan representatives on Monday and said they would push to secure the future of the site.