Nissan source warns there is no Plan B in case of no-deal Brexit

Nissan has repeatedly said its Sunderland plant would not be viable in the event of no-deal, with a source warning: “There is no Plan B.”

The car giant, which directly employs around 6,000 people in the region, has already spent £400 million on machines and preparing suppliers to build the new model of the Qashqai next year.

But 10% trade tariffs on the models it builds would make the plant unviable, bosses have warned.

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Boris Johnson has said there is a “strong possibility” the UK will fail to broker a trade agreement with the EU as he told the nation to prepare for no-deal at the end of the Brexit transition period, but insisted negotiators would “go the extra mile” in trying to get a treaty in time for December 31.

The new model of the Qashqai is due to be built at Nissan's Sunderland plant.

Europe chairman Gianluca de Ficchy told a news conference at the plant in October 2019: “If a no-deal scenario means the sudden application of WTO tariffs, we know in that case our business model won’t be sustainable in the future.

“Our industry works with lower margins and if we are in a situation in which tomorrow we have to apply 10% export duties to 70% of our production, the entire business model for Nissan Europe will be in jeopardy.”

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A Nissan source said: “We have been planning the whole time on the basis that there will be a deal.

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“Look at the money we are putting into the new Qashqai – we are already in trial production for it.

“There’s no Plan B.

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“We have already spent the best part of £400 million on all the machines and tooling the suppliers, reconfiguring the line for the car.”

The plant is in Labour MP Sharon Hodgson’s Washington and Sunderland West constituency and said a no-deal would be “devastating for the automotive industry in the UK, and Nissan.”

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She said: “We are just weeks away from the end of the transition period and manufacturers still have no certainty or clarity of what will be expected from them on 1st January.”

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