Nissan CEO vows UK plant to stay competitive despite Brexit
Nissan has every confidence in the future competitiveness of its flagship UK plant despite Brexit fears, chief executive Carlos Ghosn said Tuesday after "quality" discussions with the British government.
Interviewed by AFP, Carlos Ghosn declined to detail what specific assurances he had received from London before announcing last month that Nissan would build two new models at its plant in Sunderland, northeast England.
But the head of the Nissan-Renault auto alliance said: “We made our investment decision based on our understanding that there is as much concern from our side (as) from the British government about the competitiveness of the plant no matter what happens with Brexit.
“As long as we make commonly the same statements, we’re OK. We went ahead with our investments.”
Nissan’s decision to go ahead with the new Qashqai sport utility vehicle and four-wheel-drive X-Trail model in Sunderland eased concerns about Brexit’s impact on British industry.
But British Business Minister Greg Clark caused a media firestorm after confirming that the government made several assurances to Nissan before the announcement. He has refused to reveal the letter detailing the assurances.
EU regulators are taking a closer look at the investment deal but Ghosn said he had no anxiety on that front.
“As a company, I’m not concerned. Obviously the concern may be with other people but for us, we make decisions, we assume our decisions, we know exactly what we want, and that’s it,” he said in the interview, speaking in Lisbon at the annual Web Summit.
Ghosn stressed that “nobody knows” how Brexit will pan out eventually.
“So there’s going to be a negotiation, we’ll see what are the measures. So we have plenty of time in front of us. But we had to make a decision because we have a product cycle that we have to follow and for us, there was no reason not to invest in the plant because of the quality of the discussion that we had with the British government,” he said.