Nissan is to cut hundreds of jobs at its main UK plant in Sunderland as it moves to develop new electric-powered powertrains in the wake of the collapse in demand for diesel.
A spokesperson for the company said: “As previously communicated, we are transitioning to a new range of powertrains over the next year. As we make the operational changes required to support this, we will be managing a planned short-term reduction in powertrain supply and plant volumes at NMUK in line with our 2018 Business Plan. We are now discussing these operational changes with our employees.”
Nissan was one of a number of Japanese firms that met Theresa May in February for a roundtable in which Brexit is thought to have been high on the agenda.
Brexit has thrown a spanner in the works of many car manufacturers. Earlier this week Jaguar Land Rover, Britain's biggest carmaker, also announced it would cut jobs and production as demand falters amid Brexit concerns and lack of diesel demand.
Declining figures for car sales in March have largely been attributed to the crashing demand for diesel, which was down nearly 40 per cent compared with the same month last year. Alternatively fuelled vehicles were up 5.7 per cent and demand for petrol was up 0.5 per cent.
The declining figures represent a snapshot of an industry struggling with uncertainty around Brexit, decline in diesel demand and a particularly strong March last year, when buyers seized the chance to purchase cars before new vehicle excise duty rates came into force that April.
Analysts also pointed to the possible closure of Ellesmere Port as a sign that Brexit was having an effect on manufacturing confidence. The Vauxhall car factory that has been in operation since the 1960s faces possible closure after Brexit with the potential loss of up to 2,100 jobs.