Nissan’s Sunderland plant could make Renault and Mitsubishi cars if factory is competitive, top exec says
Nissan’s Sunderland plant could start producing Renault and Mitsubishi cars under the rebooted alliance between the Japanese and French car makers, but only if the factory is competitive, Nissan’s chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta said today.
Gupta told journalists this afternoon that the move could happen depending on the factory’s competitiveness.
“If Sunderland is competitive, the answer is yes,” he said. “They have to make it competitive.”
Sunderland’s production has fallen over the past few years, where only 238,000 units were produced at the plant – more than 50 per cent below the 507,000 cars built in 2016.
According to Gupta, the UK has become more and more challenging as a manufacturing footprint due to higher inflation rates and energy costs, which spill into higher costs of manufacturing.
The UK, the COO added, should do more to incentivise suppliers to set up shop in Britain and therefore cut production costs.
Gupta’s comments come as Nissan and Renault reshaped today the terms of their 24-year alliance, which at times has been strained.
Under the new deal – supposed to foster a more equitable relationship between the two parties – Renault will cut its stake in Nissan from the current 43 per cent to 15 per cent.
While Nissan will acquire a 15 per cent stake in Renault’s electric vehicle (EV) subsidiary, Ampere.
“We thought about what was good and what needed to be changed,” Nissan’s chief executive Makoto Uchida concluded. “And I am very happy we were able to announce what we are going to change today.”