Nissan declines to comment on reports it will step up production on Wearside post-Brexit

Nissan is reportedly to step up production at its Sunderland plant in a bid to off-set the cost of Brexit
Nissan is reportedly to step up production at its Sunderland plant in a bid to off-set the cost of Brexit

Nissan has declined to comment on claims it is to increase production at its Sunderland plant to offset increased costs after Brexit.

Japan's Nikkei Asian Review reported yesterday the car giant is to boost production at its UK factory by 20% and double the proportion of parts produced locally from 40 to 80 per cent.

A Nissan Leaf on the production line at Sunderland

A Nissan Leaf on the production line at Sunderland

The publication, which covers the Japanese stock market, says Nissan will encourage parts suppliers to relocate close to the plant to help reduce the risk of the risk of higher import and export duties if the UK loses access to the European single market and customs union.

A Nissan spokesman told the Echo: "Nissan continues to work with the UK Government to ensure the company’s long-term success and investment in the UK."

The car giant announced in October that it was investing in production of new Qashqai and X-Trail models at Sunderland after receiving Government assurances that EU withdrawal would not affect the plant's competitiveness.

Senior vice-president Colin Lawther said at the time that the move might allow the factory to increase production and create more vacancies on the shopfloor at some point in the future: "Hopefully we should be producing more cars and that means an opportunity to create more jobs in the future," he said.

"I would expect we will produce more cars in the future than we ever have in the past. It opens up an opportunity for further employment in the plant itself."

Introducing a sixth shift at the plant would equate to a 20 per cent increase in productivity.

Nissan has made no secret of its desire to see more suppliers based close to the plant post-Brexit, so parts can be bought in sterling to reduce any problems caused by fluctuating exchange rates and avoid import tariffs.

."We want more suppliers locating in the UK to supply the plant," said Mr Lawther last year.

"Certainly I am pushing that at the moment."