- Title: Nissan says: we're in the UK for the long term
- Date: 1st July 2021
- Summary: SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JULY 1, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF NISSAN CARS DRIVING OUT OF ASSEMBLY LINE TECHNICIANS IN FACTORY NISSAN CARS (SOUNDBITE) (English) NISSAN CHAIRMAN FOR AFRICA, MIDDLE EAST, INDIA, EUROPE & OCEANIA, GUILLAUME CARTIER, SAYING: "It means a lot because we are choosing Sunderland, so it is showing the trust that the company, that the government, that our partner, have with the plant and this is not a one shot, this is one car, this is the plan and it is for a 10 year engagement. So this is a great departure, this is why today is a really great great day." SIGN READING (ENGLISH) "Envision AESC" VARIOUS OF BATTERY MANUFACTURING PLANT TECHNICIANS WORKING AT BATTERY MANUFACTURING PLANT VARIOUS OF BATTERIES (SOUNDBITE) (English) NISSAN CHAIRMAN FOR AFRICA, MIDDLE EAST, INDIA, EUROPE & OCEANIA, GUILLAUME CARTIER, SAYING: "At the minute we are looking closely, it is true that the ship that we have are less than the demand, so this is totally new. We have more customer than the car we are able to build, so nicely we get with our customer to make sure that they can wait for the fantastic car, for example the new Qashqai we have already collected more than 10,000 customer orders so we will be able to build fitting exactly the request of the customer and deliver. So I believe that post summer we will be back to normal." VARIOUS OF NISSAN CARS ON ASSEMBLY LINE
- Embargoed: 15th July 2021 12:29
- Keywords: Ashwani Gupta Envision Lei Zhang Nissan automotive battery car industry electric cars gigafactory jobs zero emission
- Location: SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- City: SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Company News Markets,Europe,Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA001EK0FS5J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Nissan said on Thursday (July 1) that a $1.4 billion investment in a new electric vehicle and battery plant in northern England showed that the Japanese carmaker was dedicated to Britain for at least the next decade.
"We are choosing Sunderland, so it is showing the trust that the company, that the government, that our partner, have with the plant," Guillaume Cartier, Nissan chairman for Africa, Middle East, India, Europe & Oceania, told Reuters.
Facing the most profound technological shift in a century, the titans of the auto industry are racing to secure battery supply close to the factories where they will make the new cleaner electric vehicles of the future.
Nissan cast its backing for the 9 gigawatt-hour (GWh) plant as illustrative of a rejuvenation of Britain's automotive industry which has for five years grappled with the fear that Brexit could cut it off from the rest of the European market.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Nissan's move was "a major vote of confidence in the UK and our highly skilled workers in the North East." Nissan said Britain had backed the plan, but did not detail any guarantees or incentives granted.
The 1 billion-pound ($1.4 billion) investment by Nissan, its Chinese partner Envision AESC and local government in northeast England will create 6,200 jobs at the Sunderland plant and in British supply chains.
Nissan will spend up to 423 million pounds to produce a new-generation all-electric crossover vehicle at the British plant, where it already produces the LEAF electric vehicle and the Qashqai crossover SUV. The new vehicle has yet to be named.
As world powers try to slash carbon emissions by scrapping the fossil-fuel guzzling internal combustion engine, Britain has pledged to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars from 2030. Going electric, though, is hard.
China dominates the production of electric vehicle batteries and the processing of the core minerals such as rare earths used to make them, though the United States and Europe are trying to catch up.
Western leaders, including Johnson, are loath to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of automotive jobs - often in politically sensitive constituencies - by importing batteries from China, rather than manufacturing domestically.
And unless Britain can build both battery production and supply chains, it risks losing its four-decade reputation as the investor-friendly gateway of choice for top companies seeking to export to the rest of Europe.
Envision could invest an additional 1.8 billion pounds in the battery plant to expand generating capacity to up to 25GWh and create 4,500 new jobs in the region by 2030. There is potential on site for up to 35GWh.
Zhang said the battery plant would be happy to supply other major manufacturers and hoped that, once it expanded capacity, it would be able to export, including to Europe.
Nissan said its new crossover built in Sunderland, on the Alliance CMF-EV platform shared by partners Renault and Mitsubishi, would be exported to European markets.
Japanese capital has used Britain as a gateway to Europe since the early 1980s, when then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher persuaded Nissan bosses to build a plant in Sunderland on an old air force airfield.
As British automakers withered, Nissan flourished. Thatcher personally opened the plant in 1986 and was pictured sitting at the wheel of a Nissan Bluebird.
Japanese investors worried that the United Kingdom's Brexit vote - which was particularly strong in Sunderland - would scupper their bets, though the worst ravages of a tumultuous no-deal Brexit were avoided.
The Brexit trade deal agreed with the European Union last year allowed the free trade of cars but with a dangerous twist about rules of origin - at least 40% of the value of a car has to be produced in the United Kingdom or EU to be sold in the bloc.
That requirement rises to 55% from 2027 - a crucial detail that would mean an imported battery, which can make up half the vehicle's showroom sale price, would close off the European market to British-based car factories such as Nissan.
The new model takes Nissan's total capital investment in the Sunderland plant past 5 billion pounds.
Nissan's Sunderland plant was one of the first in Europe to build electric vehicle batteries, though its stake in the joint venture was bought out by Envision AESC.
(Production: Will Russell)
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