Nissan has canceled plans to build the next-generation X-Trail for European markets at its Sunderland plant, choosing the Kyushu plant in Japan instead.
The automaker originally planned to make the fourth-generation X-Trail in its UK plant, as announced in 2016. However, things have changed since then.
Nissan doesn’t blame Brexit for the decision, at least directly, but it’s pretty clear that the uncertainty regarding the terms of Britain’s departure from the European Union didn’t help.
"While we have taken this decision for business reasons, the continued uncertainty around the UK’s future relationship with the EU is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future," said Nissan Europe Chairman Gianluca de Ficchy.
In a press release, the company says it has increased investments in new powertrains and technology for its future European vehicles since 2016 and therefore it "has decided to optimize its investments in Europe by consolidating X-Trail production in Kyushu."
Basically, the automaker says it made the decision because building the next-generation X-Trail in Japan makes more economic sense. It already builds the current X-Trail in Kyushu, which is the production hub for the global SUV that’s sold as the Rogue in the United States.
Despite the disappointing news for the UK car industry, Nissan made it clear that production of the next-generation Juke and Qashqai SUVs in Sunderland remains unaffected by the decision. The factory has recently been expanded with a new paint facility and a second new extra-large press.
The largest automotive facility in the UK currently makes the Juke, Qashqai, Note, and Leaf in Sunderland, where the extended-range Leaf e+ will be added in a few months. Nissan builds approximately 30 percent of the UK’s total production of 1.52 million cars and exports most of them to European markets.