Sunderland Tories welcome claims Nissan will produce next Qashqai model on Wearside

Sunderland Conservatives leader Peter Wood.

Sunderland Conservatives leader Peter Wood.

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Conservatives in Sunderland are optimistic that Nissan will produce the next model of its Qashqai SUV on Wearside, dismissing speculation around the car manufacturer’s future post-Brexit.

The Conservative group on Sunderland City Council also said it rejects claims that the Government is considering a 10% tariff on exports.

A Qashqai being built at Nissan Sunderland.

A Qashqai being built at Nissan Sunderland.

As reported in the Echo last week, Nissan will decide next month whether its Wearside plant will build a third generation of the best-selling Qashqai.

The firm’s global chief executive Carlos Ghosn said he can look at the future of the Sunderland plant “with more ease”, after talks with the UK Government.

Nissan refused to be drawn on claims in national newspapers that a decision to build the third-generation Qashqai at the Washington plant is already a done deal.

A spokesman said: “We are due to make a decision on the Qashqai model allocation next month and look forward to sharing the outcome once the decision has been made.”

This news, along with the government’s £4million plan to boost the number of electric vehicles, is very welcome and both calms fears about the effects of Brexit and underlines the government’s commitment to Nissan on Wearside

Coun Peter Wood, leader of Sunderland Conservatives

However, Sunderland Conservative opposition leader, Coun Peter Wood, is bullish about the prospect of it happening.

He said: “This news, along with the Government’s £4million plan to boost the number of electric vehicles, is very welcome and both calms fears about the effects of Brexit and underlines the Government’s commitment to Nissan on Wearside.”

Coun Wood also rejected Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson’s previous claim in the Echo that the Government’s unclear Brexit strategy puts the automotive industry in jeopardy.

He said: “Sunderland Conservatives favour a free trade deal between the UK and the EU to allow Nissan to continue to export to EU countries without paying any tariffs and reject claims made by the city’s members of parliament about this.

Carlos Ghosn at the unveiling of the Sunderland-built Qashqai Mark II

Carlos Ghosn at the unveiling of the Sunderland-built Qashqai Mark II

“There has never been any suggestion that the Government would favour the imposition of World Trade Organisation arrangements which would slap a 10% tariff on exports and this can only be considered as worrying speculation.

“EU countries will want to continue trading with the UK in manufacturing and Sharon Hodgson’s suggestion that the Government will ‘walk us over a cliff edge’ on Brexit trade deals is nonsense.

“It is impossible for Government ministers to offer any guarantees at present but essential that swift progress is made now on the best possible outcome.”