Nissan has fired yet another warning shot against a no-deal Brexit, saying that if the country's approaching exit from the EU triggers any tariffs on exports to the region, it will make its UK facilities unviable for business.
If Britain leaves the European Union without a deal, it would mean that locally-built cars that are exported to the EU would be slapped with a 10 percent tariff under the World Trade Organization rules.
Nissan Europe chairman Gianluca de Ficchy said to Bloomberg that if such a scenario comes into play, it would be impossible for them to offset the tariffs through cost cuts.
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“The only clear conclusion we have reached is that if there were to be a no-deal Brexit with the imposition of WTO tariffs, it will not be sustainable,” he said. “That will represent a significant cost increase which would make our products less competitive.”
Nissan’s Sunderland factory is the country’s biggest, sending 70 percent of its production to the EU. De Ficchy added that assessing their UK factory’s future is not a straightforward process and that the company believes that it has strong assets.
Car manufacturers in Britain have been increasingly vocal in opposing the country’s exit from the EU without a deal, warning that this would bring a devastating blow on the local automotive industry.
Nissan already decided to not build the X-Trail in Sunderland, in addition of stopping the production of Infiniti models for the European market. Production of the Qashqai could move to Spain, although De Ficchy said that they are currently assuming that the next-gen model will still be made in the UK.
The company has revamped one of Sunderland’s assembly lines in order to produce there the all-new Juke, adding that the production output of the factory will drop by 20 percent to 360,000 vehicles in the year through March, as a direct result of the changes they had to make in order to deal with slowing diesel sales.