Car makers want to stay in the EU

A Nissan employee works on the second generation Qashqai, at the Nissan plant in Sunderland.

A Nissan employee works on the second generation Qashqai, at the Nissan plant in Sunderland.

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THE NORTH East car industry’s reliance on Europe is revealed in a new report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

An independent study by accountancy firm KPMG on behalf of the organisation examined how the UK’s auto industry operates within the EU.

Nissan produced more than 500,000 vehicles at its Sunderland plant last year, 70 per cent of which was exported to the rest of Europe.

Ninety two per cent of companies surveyed said it would be beneficial to stay in the EU.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Manufacturer after manufacturer – Nissan, Honda, BMW, Ford – have publicly asserted the advantages of EU membership and underscored the message that the car industry cannot operate in isolation.

“Our companies source more of their parts from the rest of the EU than they do from the UK itself.

“The EU is a global standard setter for rules and regulations, covering all aspects of the industry from car emissions to safety. If we left, our companies would still have to conform to EU standards but would have no say in how they are drafted. There would be no British voice at the table fighting the corner for British interests.”

A Nissan spokesman said: “As a global company, we always want to ensure our business has the opportunity to operate as freely as possible around the world.

“Europe is a vital region to Nissan and, as a result, we have invested heavily in our record-breaking Sunderland plant. This has helped the plant to win successive new models, including the all-new Qashqai, which in turn are generating jobs and boosting to the UK and European economy.

“We will support all future policy decisions which enable us to continue this success.”

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