Nissan Denies UK Media Claims It Will 'Double Down' on Sunderland Plant After Brexit, Close EU Sites

© AFP 2023 / YOSHIKAZU TSUNOThe logo of Japanese auto giant Nissan Motor is seen at the Tokyo Motor Show on November 2, 2015.
The logo of Japanese auto giant Nissan Motor is seen at the Tokyo Motor Show on November 2, 2015. - Sputnik International
The news comes ahead of fierce negotiations between London and Brussels, with the UK Prime Minister planning to deliver a speech on Monday regarding the government's post-Brexit stance, which is expected to take a hardline approach.

Japanese auto giant Nissan has said it plans to "double down" on production at its Sunderland plant in the UK to boost its UK market share, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

The company said it would shutter facilities in Barcelona and France under its contingency plans in a bid to keep a major competitive advantage as potential rivals would battle tariffs on vehicles sold to UK markets, according to FT.

Potential market share increases for the automaker could jump from 4 to 20 percent, under the plan, FT reported.

Nissan's Sunderland plant, in northeast England, is the largest outside of Japan and hosts roughly 6,000 employees.

Three of the companies five top models - the Leaf, Qashqai and Juke, - are produced there, where the automaker has invested over £4bn in the facility.

But a Nissan Europe spokesman said in a statement that the company denied that "such a contingency plan exists".

He said: "We’ve modelled every possible ramification of Brexit and the fact remains that our entire business both in the UK and in Europe is not sustainable in the event of WTO tariffs.

Nissan would continuously urge UK and European Union officials to collaborate on an "orderly balanced Brexit" that would "encourage mutually beneficial trade", the spokesman added.

Profits for the company's European division have nosedived since July last year, with sales declining 17 percent to roughly 567,000 units, namely due to decreases in diesel models.

Plans to keep the company's production in 2016 were scrapped after the car giant said it planned to keep its its X-Trail manufacturing base in Japan, increasing fears of an exodus from the UK's most successful automaking plant.

The news comes as UK prime minster Boris Johnson has revealed a tough negotiation stance on talks with Brussels, with a speech on Monday stating there would be "no need" for the UK to follow EU rules in exchange for scrapping tariffs in future agreements. Further automakers have hinted at boosting post-Brexit production, with PSA chief executive Carlos Tavares stating he may ramp up production at the Ellesmere Port factory in Chesire.

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