Still Brexiting but Nissan cheers the automotive industry

Oct 28, 2016

Still Brexiting but Nissan cheers the automotive industry

28th Oct 2016

It’s all been doom and gloom from commentators regarding the Brexit vote and whether we negotiate a deal to allow access to the European Free market or whether we opt for a hard Brexit.

But the news from Nissan that confirms it will build its new Qashqai and X-Trail SUV models at its Sunderland plant following government ‘assurances’ offers renewed hope for the UK economy and the automotive sector in particular.

Following the June 23rd vote the Japanese manufacturing giant’s commitment to the UK’s largest car plant had been in doubt, but now there’s relief all round.

Importantly perhaps for those of us further down the supply chain, the Government’s Business Secretary Greg Clark clearly stated no promise of financial compensation had been made to Nissan. This surely means Nissan understands the strength of the UK economy and the skilled workforce available to them outweighs the risk of moving production elsewhere.

And news that in the three months following the Brexit vote, economic growth in the UK rose by 0.5%, which although lower than the previous quarter’s 0.7% is higher than the 0.3% many predicted.

In amongst all the various comments on the news, from all angles was one that made me smile and it came from Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s chief executive.

He said he welcomed Prime Minister Theresa May’s ‘commitment to the automotive industry in Britain’ and if she really is as confident as this decision seems to indicate, then perhaps as a small but important part of that industry, we can also look forward with renewed confidence.

Our chrome plated parts have featured on Nissan models, so the decision has greater resonance here in Southend, but I’m pleased 7000 workers at the plant in Sunderland have a brighter future.

Whilst we don’t know any details regarding the ‘support and assurance’ Nissan received from the UK government, it’s unlikely Borough will see any such direct assurances from the Prime Minister. We will just have to rely on the quality of our moulding and chrome plating of components to attract the business we need to grow

It makes one wonder if we will now see all the other carmakers with big decisions to make, not only stay, but increase their investments following this apparent commitment to protect Nissan from the impact of our exit from the EU.

The next few months will prove interesting, as will the conversations we have with buyers from manufacturers with operations here and across Europe. Trying to understand what the decision from Nissan means to the automotive supply chain and gauge the confidence in the sector will certainly add a little spice to our water-cooler chats.