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Nissan joins calls for clarity on Brexit as Sunderland plant investment is frozen

Nissan Sunderland

Nissan is waiting for more details on Brexit before it lifts a freeze on investment at its Sunderland factory.

The Japanese manufacturer is the latest company to make it clear that without more details on how Brexit will work, it has to put investment decisions on hold or start planning for the worst case scenario.

Nissan has joined BMW, Unipart and Airbus with making public calls about the lack of clarity and direction over the Government’s plans ahead of leaving the European Union next year.

Carlos Ghosn, Nissan chief executive, told the BBC: "We have said very clearly we want to maintain the competitiveness of the UK, particularly in our case because we represent one third of the total car production of the UK in our plant in Sunderland.

"Obviously for us the stakes are very high, but it's difficult to tell you what kind of decision we're going to take without knowing exactly what is Brexit."

BMW has already said it needs a decision on what the situation will be at borders in the UK before September or it will have to start building contingency plans which will push up the price of cars, restrict its supply chain and as a result put pressure on the competitiveness of its UK production operations.

Honda has also said increased admin at UK borders is likely to add £2.1m in paper work and IT systems.

The calls from manufacturers follow on from the SMMT’s International Automotive Summit 2018 in London on June 26, where it revealed manufacturers halved investment in new models and factory improvements in the first six months of 2018.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "There is growing frustration in global boardrooms at the slow pace of negotiations."

When pressed by journalists at the European Council summit in Brussels today, Prime minister Theresa May said both the UK and EU want to work towards a future Brexit deal “at a faster pace”.

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