Nissan warns UK plant is unsustainable without EU trade deal

Nissan Motor factory in Sunderland, UK

Nissan Motor’s car manufacturing plant located in Sunderland, northern England, which hires 7,000, is “unsustainable” if Britain leaves the European Union without a trade deal, it stated on Wednesday.

Ashwani Gupta, the automaker’s global chief operating head, informed the BBC about its commitment to the car plant, the United Kingdom’s largest, could not be preserved if there was no tariff-free access to the bloc.

The EU is the biggest market for the plant, which made a bit less than 350,000 vehicles last year and builds the Qashqai, Juke and Leaf models.

“You know we are the number one carmaker in the UK and we want to continue. We are committed. Having said that, if we are not getting the current tariffs, it’s not our intention but the business will not be sustainable. That’s what everybody has to understand,” Gupta informed the BBC.

The United Kingdom departed from the EU on January 31 but the main terms of its membership at still in place during a transition period until the end of this year, permitting it time to negotiate a new free trade deal with the bloc. However, the disucssions are at an impasse.

“We will keep working hard to reach an agreement, for as long as there is a constructive process ongoing,” stated a spokesman for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson when asked about Gupta’s comments.

“Our aim is zero tariffs and zero quotas – that is at least as much in the EU’s interest as ours and the EU has come close to reaching this aim in their other FTAs.”

Last week Nissan stated it would shutdown its plant in Barcelona, Spain from December as part of global restructuring. The facility, its main car factory in Spain, hires 3,000 people.

Gupta also told the BBC that any preparations for its strategic partner and 43% shareholder Renault to take up spare capacity at the Sunderland plant would be a matter for the French automaker.

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