A top Nissan executive has said the government must step in with millions of pounds of investments in the car parts industry in the UK if it is to continue to manufacture cars at its Sunderland plant.
Colin Lawther, a senior vice president in charge of manufacturing at Nissan, said the manufacturer will “review constantly” business conditions after Brexit to assess “if anything materially changes,” in testimony to Parliament’s International Trade committee, Reuters reported.
He asked the government to create a £100m fund to boost the UK’s supply chain, or else the company could be hit by increased tariffs because of its reliance on imported parts, according to the Financial Times.
"When you look at the supply base not all of it is in place and that is where we are asking the government to help us," he said.
Lawther also suggested the government would need to pursue “a lot of different solutions” to help the car industry, including removing import duty on car parts or negotiating a specific trade deal with Europe.
Business secretary Greg Clark offered “assurances” to Nissan in October that its UK operations would not be affected by Brexit. The government has insisted this did not extend to financial aid, although it has not revealed further details.
The car firm subsequently announced it will build its next Qashqai SUV as well as the X-Trail SUV model in Sunderland, securing the jobs of workers in a city which voted largely in favour of Brexit.