UK promised to protect Nissan from Brexit fallout with €91 million of support

UK promised to protect Nissan from Brexit fallout with €91 million of support
Copyright Reuters
Copyright Reuters
By Pascale Davies with Reuters
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In a letter to the Japanese carmaker, the UK business minister had vowed to maintain manufacturers' capacity to trade with the EU.


Britain in 2016 promised Nissan up to £80 million (over €91 million) of support and vowed to protect the carmaker from any Brexit fallout, according to a confidential letter released on Monday.

The UK Business Secretary Greg Clark told the former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn: "We will set our ambitions high and vigorously pursue continued access to the European market as an objective in future negotiations.”

On Sunday, the Japanese carmaker abandoned plans to produce its new Qashqai and X-Trail sport utility vehicles in its Sunderland plant in the north of England.

In a letter to employees, Nissan said continued Brexit uncertainty is not helping companies to "plan for the future". 

The automobile maker is also facing declining diesel sales in Europe.

The original decision to build the cars in England in 2016 would have created 740 new jobs and was hailed by Prime Minister Theresa May as a major boost to the UK economy as it began Brexit negotiations.

The government had previously refused to publish the letter on multiple occasions, which prompted accusations that MPs were doing lucrative deals with companies.

UK Business Secretary Greg ClarkReuters

The business minister wrote: "It will be a critical priority of our negotiation to support UK car manufacturers and ensure that their ability to export to and from the EU is not adversely affected by the UK’s future relationship with the EU.”

The £80 million of support would have been used to develop skills, research, development, and innovation for the new car models, according to the letter.

Nissan builds 30% of Britain's cars at the Sunderland factory, which is the UK's biggest vehicle plant. However, as the majority of cars are exported to EU countries, Nissan is worried about tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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