Nissan has confirmed it will pump another £500m into its Sunderland plant as the Japanese automotive giant said it had “full confidence” in its British operations thanks to the Brexit deal.
Speaking at the unveiling of the third-generation Qashqai, Nissan Europe boss Gianlucca de Ficchy said the move would take investment into the factory to £1bn over a five year period.
Nissan has already put £400m into Sunderland to prepare it for the new version of the Qashqai, with prototypes running down the line before it goes on sale in the summer. Another £100m was put into the smaller Juke as part of the investment plan.
Britain striking a trade deal with the EU that avoided the prospect of 10pc tariffs on car imports meant Nissan had “full, full confidence” in the UK and bringing new models to Sunderland, Mr de Ficchy said.
“We have been the guys continuing investing in total uncertainty during 2020, in which we were clearly saying ‘we are investing for the launch of new vehicles’.”
As well as conventional engines, the Qashqai will also offer drivetrains using Nissan’s “e-power” technology where a petrol engine charges a battery that powers an electric drive system. This is the European debut for e-power, and is where much of the extra investment will go.
Batteries for Nissan’s all-electric Leaf also built at the plant are already made by a partner company at Sunderland.
Mr de Ficchy confirmed production of larger power packs for this car will be moved to Sunderland to meet “local content” rules laid out in the Brexit trade deal on Christmas Eve, accounting for some of the rest of the money.