No word from Nissan on whether new Leaf will be built in Sunderland

The new Nissan Leaf
The new Nissan Leaf
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Nissan is remaining tight-lipped on whether it will build a new version of the Leaf on Wearside.

The car giant unveiled a new model of the all-electric family car, with an increased 400km range, in Japan last night.

Nissan started building the original Leaf on Wearside in March 2013 and reached the 50,000 milestone in May last year.

The firm says the new Leaf will go on sale in Japan next month and is 'slated for deliveries in January 2018 in the U.S., Canada and Europe.'

But it has not revealed whether or not the European deliveries will be produced in Sunderland.

A spokesman said: "We are not making any announcement yet about where it is going to be built."

It was anticipated an announcement would be made in the near future.

Leaf and battery manufacturing supports more than 2,000 jobs at Nissan and in its UK suppliers.

The car giant sold off its Sunderland battery plant last month, but pledged that the 300 jobs would not be affected.

The company announced that it had entered into a definitive sale and purchase agreement with GSR Capital, a private investment fund.

The sale and purchase agreement covered Nissan’s battery subsidiary, Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), as well as battery manufacturing operations in Smyrna, Tennessee.

Hiroto Saikawa, president and chief executive officer of Nissan, said at the time: “This is a win-win for AESC and Nissan.

"It enables AESC to utilize GSR’s wide networks and proactive investment to expand its customer base and further increase its competitiveness.

"In turn, this will further enhance Nissan’s EV competitiveness. AESC will remain a very important partner for Nissan as we deepen our focus on designing and producing market-leading electric vehicles.”

Nissan said in February that it might may 'adjust' its business in the UK depending on the outcome of Brexit..

Senior vice-president Colin Lawther told the House of Commons International Trade Committee today the firm would 'constantly review' its decision to build two new versions of the Qashqai and X-Trail on Wearside in the light of any material changes to its ability to trade with the remaining EU

Mr Lawther said Nissan's preferred outcome from Brexit negotiations was for Britain's relations with the EU to 'stay as they are'.

In talks with the Government, Nissan made 'a strong request' for Britain to remain within the European Customs Union, said Mr Lawther, and he warned that a move to World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs would 'change the business circumstances' for the company.

Mr Lawther told the committee a move to WTO tariffs would change the business environment for Nissan's UK operations, adding: "We would have to look at the degrees of change and adjust our business to take into account whatever this new trading platform would be."

The decision to expand in Sunderland was based on 'a set of circumstances' at that point in time, he said.

"As those circumstances change, and we wouldn't wait until the end of the process, we will continually review the decisions that we take, based on anything that materially changes," he told MPs.