Nissan will build EV batteries in the UK in order to comply with the terms of the Brexit deal, and has committed to the future of its Sunderland factory.
Batteries for the firm’s Leaf electric hatchback are currently produced in Japan and imported to the UK. Shifting production to the UK will mean Nissan avoids incurring tariffs on the 70% of Leaf models built for export under the terms of the Brexit deal, which states that at least 55% of a vehicle’s material value must come from the UK or EU to avoid penalties.
Speaking to the BBC, Nissan chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta said: “The Brexit deal is positive for Nissan. Being the largest automaker in the UK we are taking this opportunity to redefine auto-making in the UK.”
“It has created a competitive environment for Sunderland, not just inside the UK but outside as well. We’ve decided to localise the manufacture of the 62kWh battery in Sunderland so that all our products qualify [for tariff-free export to the EU]. We are committed to Sunderland for the long term under the business conditions that have been agreed.”
It has yet to be confirmed whether the decision will create more jobs at Nissan’s Sunderland factory, where 6000 people are directly employed in the production of the Leaf EV and Qashqai SUV.
This story is being updated.