Nissan Motor is pushing on with strategies to construct its new Qashqai sports utility vehicle at its British factory even after warnings over Brexit, declaring on Friday a 52-million pound investment in a new press line at the site.
The Japanese automaker has stated that if Britain’s departure from the European Union leads to tariffs, its European business, which also consists of a plant in Barcelona, would be unsustainable.
It said it would construct the new Qashqai at its northern English Sunderland site in 2016 following government reassurances that Brexit would not impact competitiveness, showing how far in advance investment decisions are made for a vehicle due around the beginning of 2021.
“Our team in the UK continues to set the standard for productivity and quality,” stated Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta.
Globally, Nissan is grappling with the requirement of accelerating cost-cutting and rebuild profits, repair its partnership with French automaker Renault and handle the fallout from former CEO Carlos Ghosn’s arrest.
It currently constructs the LEAF, Qashqai and Juke models in Britain, where it has directly hired over 7,000 people, but it axed premium Infiniti vehicles last year, slashing output, and has been hit by a downturn in diesel demand.
The new press line is part of a 400 million-pound ($520 million) investment for the automobile on top of the 100 million pounds invested for the new Juke, which entered production in 2019 and has reached an output of 35,000.
Nissan’s Sunderland site, Britain’s biggest auto plant, built almost 350,000 vehicles in 2019, dropping almost a third since a recent high of more than 500,000 cars in 2016.
Although Britain officially left the bloc in January, trading terms with Europe will remain unmodified until the end of the year. After that a new partnership, which is yet to be finalized, will come into force.
Manufacturers fear any extra customs checks, tariffs and regulations could add costs, reduce production processes and potentially grind output to a stop.