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Nissan Speaks Against Hard Brexit

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Nissan has been pushing against the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union since before the referendum in 2016. It’s not completely surprising, considering that the brand is part of the large Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, which has a considerable presence in Europe. In the past, Nissan has made vague rumblings implying that it was unhappy and thought the plan was a bad idea, but now the threats to leave the UK are becoming a bit more explicit as a hard Brexit, or the UK leaving the EU with no new trade deal, becomes a real possibility.

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In a recent statement from Nissan, it called its huge facility in Sunderland, England, a production base for Nissan in Europe, designing and building vehicles for not just the UK but the whole continent. The assembly plants receive a fair share of components from Europe to build its vehicles, and the Nissan lean manufacturing model depends on swift deliveries instead of large inventories. In the case of a hard Brexit, trade barriers could mean that the whole system loses its effectiveness. Items could get stuck in customs, and high tariffs or taxes would add to the costs to assemble vehicles in Sunderland to send to the EU. This worst-case scenario would mean the Nissan facilities in the UK would lose their viability in comparison to other possible factory sites in friendlier EU member countries. The statement went on to say that a sudden change in the relationship between the EU and the UK could have “serious implications” for all companies with investments in the UK, not just Nissan.

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While the statement doesn’t explicitly say that Nissan will leave the UK in the case of a hard Brexit, it certainly seems to imply that if negotiations don’t go well, thousands of British jobs will be at stake. Nissan’s facility in Sunderland helped a struggling area of the nation get back to work, and in total it directly employs 8,000 workers. Beyond Nissan itself, its operations in the UK support an additional 30,000 British jobs through suppliers and contractors.

This is some of the strongest (and most direct) language that Nissan has used against the Brexit proceedings. We will all have to wait and see if anything changes course with 38,000 jobs in the balance.

News Source: The Guardian