Nissan scraps plan to build new X-Trail model in Britain

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Japanese carmaker Nissan is cancelling plans to make the next model of its X-Trail sports utility vehicle in Britain, less than two months before the country is due to leave the European Union, broadcaster Sky News said.

"The Government's chaotic handling of Brexit has been the root cause of business uncertainty".

The Sunderland plant, which has been active since 1986, employs nearly 7,000 people and produces around 2,000 cars a day.

And Nissan is part-owned by France's Renault, which could move production to France in future to avoid any post-Brexit EU tariffs.

They have reiterated today their commitment to the United Kingdom by continuing to manufacture in Sunderland the current Qashqai, Leaf and Juke models and the new Qashqai model from 2020. Spending was 589 million pounds ($771 million), the lowest since the global financial crisis, the Society of Motor Manufacturers said in a statement Thursday.

Just over 1.5 million cars left United Kingdom factories in 2018, a 9.1% decline on the previous year, and the lowest for six years.

Production of diesel cars was down by 22 per cent to 561,000 past year.

The group's chief executive, Mike Hawes, described the threat of a no-deal Brexit as "catastrophic".

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It comes after Ford confirmed on Friday that it would be cutting around 370 jobs at its Bridgend plant as it restructures its production across Europe and the United Kingdom.

Current production in Sunderland includes the Nissan LEAF, Europe's best-selling electric vehicle, which reached a record 46,989 unit last year, up 177% from the previous year, according to the company.

Most of the cuts will be in the United Kingdom, with a voluntary programme being launched, and are in addition to 1,500 workers who left the company past year.

‎Ford announced it was cutting jobs in the United Kingdom as part of a regional plan.

Steve Turner, Unite's assistant general secretary for manufacturing, said: "It is beyond disappointing that our members are hearing about their futures and the holding back of planned investments in Sunderland through media reports and not directly from the company". Production at the site fell 11 percent in 2018. We are working hard to establish the truth behind current speculation and will be meeting with the company on Monday morning to establish both the facts and how such news has been released without a discussion with the union.

Nissan said: "The company has made a decision to optimise its investments in Europe by consolidating X-Trail production in Kyushu, the production hub for this global model".

It did not announce how many additional jobs would have been created by the addition of the X-Trail line, but the decision not to go ahead with the plan is not believed to affect the current workforce at the plant, instead impacting potential future employment opportunities there.

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