Japanese carmaker Nissan (NSANY) has warned that the survival of its car plant in Sunderland, the biggest in the UK, is at risk if the UK leaves the EU without a trade deal in place. The statement comes as the UK and Brussels meet this week in another round of trade negotiations.
Nissan’s global chief of operations Ashwani Gupta told the BBC that if the UK cannot have tariff-free access to the European market, where it sells most of its Sunderland-made cars, then the UK factory will not be sustainable.
"You know we are the number one carmaker in the UK and we want to continue. We are committed,” Gupta said in an interview with the BBC. “Having said that, if we are not getting the current tariffs, it's not our intention but the business will not be sustainable.”
Nissan announced its worst results in over ten years last week, reporting a $6.2bn (£5bn) net loss for the last financial year.
The company is facing a radical restructuring as one of the three members of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.
With each partner to take the lead on a particular region, Nissan will be focusing on Japan, North America and China. Nissan has only a 3% market share in Europe.
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As part of its cost-cutting measures moving ahead, Nissan said that it was shutting down its plants in Barcelona, where it directly employs around 3,000 people. The news led to worker riots at the plant last week. It has also closed its plant in Indonesia.
However, Nissan said that it was committed to its plant in Sunderland, where it employs around 7,000 people.
While Renault (RNO.PA) will be the lead carmaker of the group for Europe, the French carmaker said last week that it has no plans for now to move any manufacturing to the UK.