Nissan has given Britain one of its biggest economic boosts post-Brexit by agreeing to invest £1 billion in a new factory producing electric vehicles and batteries, creating an extra 6,200 jobs.
The plant will involve a conversion of the current Nissan factory in Sunderland, in the north-east of England, where the Qashqai and Juke models are built.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Nissan's move was "a major vote of confidence in the UK and our highly skilled workers in the North East" and his spokesman said it was a "pivotal moment in the electric vehicle revolution."
Kwasi ‘British workers are among the worst idlers in the world’ Kwarteng refuses point blank to reveal how much taxpayer’s money has been handed to Nissan & their Chinese partner. On the same day, British businesses lose a significant slice of emergency Covid support.— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) July 1, 2021
Nissan’s chairman for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Guillaume Cartier, said: "We are choosing Sunderland, so it is showing the trust that the company, that the government, that our partner, have with the plant."
He said: "This is not one shot, this is not one car, this is the plan and this is for 10 years' engagement.”
Don’t be fooled by the #Nissan announcement at #Sunderland today. It’s not a significant #Japanese investment in the UK automotive industry. It is being paid for by the UK govt and the amount is being kept secret. They’re also in breach of Single Market rules. #Brexit— Cymru am Byth #FBPE (@Penyrheolgerrig) July 1, 2021
The UK government has already announced that, in order to meet carbon emission targets. from 2030 sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned.
Nissan to invest £1 billion plan this morning, along with its Chinese partner, to build a battery plant to power 100,000 vehicles a year including a new crossover model. The investment will create 6,200 jobs at the Sunderland plant and in British supply chains.— Andrew Neil (@afneil) July 1, 2021
When asked whether Nissan had received state subsidies from the government, Mr Cartier would not comment on details but said enigmatically: “The government is a key player.”
Subsidies from government, known as state aid, is now allowed in the European Union but Britain’s departure from the EU means it is free from such a restriction.
Nissan will spend £423 million producing a new all-electric crossover vehicle at the plant, where it currently builds its Leaf electric car.
Nissan has also done a deal with a Chinese company, Envision AESC, to build a plant in Sunderland to produce batteries for the new and as yet unnamed vehicle.
Zhang Lei, founder and Chief Executive of Envision, told Reuters: "Industrial revolutions start with energy revolutions and so with the green industrial revolution. We also want to build the supply ecosystem in the country - but you do need critical mass."