Nissan hails bumper year for car production as Qashqai drives sales

Rebecca Smith
The new Qashqai rolls off the production line
The new Qashqai rolls off the production line (Source: Getty)

After providing a boost to the government post-Brexit vote, Nissan has now sounded a positive note over its 30th anniversary in the UK.

It has said its 2016 UK car production figures of 507,430 vehicles were the second highest in its Sunderland plant's history. And it's giving a thumbs up for the near future too, saying 2017 will be "another big year for Nissan in Sunderland" - the UK's largest car plant.

Read more: Car manufacturing has hit its highest level in 17 years

The Qashqai was the best-selling British car worldwide last year.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan divisional vice president, European manufacturing, said: “Britain is now home to Nissan’s best-selling and most technologically-advanced models in Europe, covering our market-leading crossover range, the world’s best-selling electric vehicle and two premium models for global export."

In October, the car firm announced it will build its next Qashqai SUV, as well as the X-Trail SUV model in Sunderland, which Nissan's chief executive Carlos Ghosn said came following "support and assurances from the UK government".

The Japanese firm makes around one in three of Britain's cars, and had said it could scrap investment at the Sunderland plant, without a guarantee of compensation for costs related to any new tariffs resulting from Brexit.

But speaking at Davos last week, Ghosn said a decision over long-term investment in Britain will only take place once the government had clearly set out how the UK would leave the European Union.

Read more: Nissan backtrack? Boss throws firm's UK future into doubt

The news comes after the boss of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) warned that manufacturers were waiting for further information on Brexit negotiations before they invest more into the UK and "sitting on their hands" until there's more clarity.

Mike Hawes said that while it was good news that Nissan committed, different companies "will potentially be in a very different position" and conclusions couldn't be drawn from one firm.

"I sense certainly that the amount invested over the last 12 months will not be as high as the preceding one, two, three years," he warned, while giving evidence to the Treasury Select Committee on the UK's future economic relationship with the European Union.

Related articles