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Nissan’s British Announcement Causes Uproar

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Nissan LEAF factory Sunderland UK

Earlier this week, Nissan made a surprising announcement about its facility in Sunderland, UK. After statements that it would not commit to new vehicles being built in the United Kingdom until Brexit negotiations were more solidified, it announced that not one, but two new models would be made at its British facility. Not only would the new Nissan Qashqai stay in the factory, but production of the Nissan X-Trail, a similar SUV, would be moving from Japan to the UK.

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If you’re feeling a bit lost, you’re not alone. When the deal was announced, we asked ourselves what exactly could have happened to make Nissan commit to the UK. Did the British government cave and promise to pay Nissan for any export tariffs it could have to bear? Both sides of the story claim that the answer is no, but experts at The Financial Times and beyond say that for Nissan to have made such a decision, there has to be a deal somewhere in the negotiations between the government and the car company.

The biggest British car maker, Jaguar Land Rover; and Ford, which builds engines in the UK to send to the EU; were initially happy that Nissan was staying in the UK, but not because they’re all a big happy family. These automakers see Nissan’s announcement as confirmation that Nissan received the tariff-free trading guarantee it wanted, and now predict the same deal coming for themselves to keep a level playing field in the UK. The Guardian reports that other industries, like financial services and healthcare, see the special treatment that Nissan received through the process, and are now clamoring for their businesses to be saved the harsh reality of a complete departure from the EU’s free trade zone.

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Bloomberg is reporting that a source close to negotiations said that Nissan told the British government that the Sunderland facility would be closed because of Brexit, and the government scrambled to avoid losing 7,000 jobs at the plant and 28,000 supplier jobs. We here at The News Wheel know that any threats that were made happened because Nissan has to make business decisions based on what is best for the company, its greater body of worldwide employees, and customers. Hopefully the UK did not do anything foolish that could cost them billions of dollars down the road they could have saved by remaining in the European Union.

News Sources: The Guardian, Reuters, Financial Times, and Bloomberg