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Sterling blamed for losses at Nissan and Toyota

Toyota and Nissan have blamed the strength of sterling for mounting losses in Britain.

The FT reports today that the two companies lost a total of almost £150m last year on car assembly in Britain, according to figures filed at Companies House. Neither company is expected to break even this year. Both companies have stressed they will not be abandoning the UK as a car production centre, but they are increasingly turning to the Continent for parts purchasing.

Bryan Jackson, senior director at Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK), said: "There are clear advantages in joining the euro. It would bring stability and help us with business planning, although we recognise there must be a referendum."

Accounts filed by the Toyota subsidiary show that its pre-tax losses more than doubled last year - from £52m to £130.2m - on sales down 6% at £1.23 billion.

The carmaker, which exports 80% of its UK production, said its performance had also been hit by "very severe" competition.

Figures from Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK), revealed a pre-tax loss of £17.7m last year, reversing profits of £19.8m in 1999, despite sales rising 14% to £2.07 billion.

Nissan said in a statement: "Despite cost reduction activity and the high productivity of the plant, the cost competitiveness of the manufactured product at Sunderland was undermined by the continued strength of sterling." (November 20, 2001)

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