Nissan to increase investment in Sunderland

Nissan has announced plans to increase its operations in Sunderland. 

The Spectator reports:

Nissan’s announcement that it will build the new Qashqai in Sunderland is a boost to Brexit Britain. If the decision had gone the other way, critics would have been quick to claim this was proof that Brexit was going to total the British car industry and that the people of Sunderland had self-harmed when they voted to leave. But Nissan has decided to not only build the new Qashqai in Sunderland – as we reported it would on Saturday – but also the X-Trail SUV.

Theresa May has been straight out of the traps to hail the decision as a ‘vote of confidence’ that ‘shows Britain is an outward looking, world leading nation’. This is probably the most important industrial announcement post Brexit as it secures the future of a plant that produces more cars than the whole of Italy.

A healthy scepticism

In the beginning of October, FTWC had considered the matter of Nissan’s future in Britain following the referendum vote. In doing so, this blog suggested that companies’ threats of withdrawing from the UK should elicit some scepticism. 

A number of businesses have warned that they would relocate factories and offices to EU countries if Britain were to lose tariff-free access to the Single Market, thereby putting some pressure on the government to remain in the Single Market.

However, it’s possible that some of those warnings could prove to be empty threats. Such things have been known to happen before. For example, in 2002 Nissan said that it would move its Sunderland plant to Europe if Britain didn’t adopt the euro…

The UK has kept the pound, and Nissan continues to make cars in Sunderland.

A pattern emerges.