Nissan has confirmed that it will build the new Qashqai crossover at its Sunderland plant after threatening to pull production out of the UK if it voted to leave the EU.
In a surprise move, the Japanese manufacturer also revealed that the new X-Trail will also be built in the north-east, securing 7,000 jobs at the plant and potentially creating more.
A source close to the matter has told Reuters that the move came after Theresa May gave a written commitment to support the manufacturer if Britain exiting the European Union ended up harming the plant’s performance.
“The support and assurances of the UK government enabled us to decide that the next-generation Qashqai and X-Trail will be produced at Sunderland,” said Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of Nissan.
“I welcome British Prime Minister Theresa May’s commitment to the automotive industry in Britain and to the development of an overall industrial strategy.”
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “Today’s announcement is good news for UK automotive and jobs, confirming Britain as a leader in automotive production.
“To secure this position, however, we need government to provide public assurance to investors that our advantages will be maintained – namely, a competitive business environment, the ability to recruit talent from abroad and the continuation of all the benefits of the single market as we leave the EU.”
Earlier this month, Ghosn met with the prime minister to discuss the future of the Sunderland factory. It opened in 1986 and is responsible for one-third of all cars built in the UK.
After completing his university studies in English and Creative Writing in Cardiff, Jack is now a full time motoring writer at Blackball Media. His love of cars stems from his childhood years when he began to live and breathe all-things automotive.