Nissan’s British arm has announced it made annual profits which were up by 21 per cent last year, ahead of Britain’s decision to leave Europe. The car makers’ senior executives had indicated that they needed reassurances ahead of Article 50 being triggered to start divorce proceedings with Europe.
However, they have now had high level talks with Prime Minister Theresa May’s team and have announced that they will be making their next two models at their Sunderland plant in the North East of England. The British subsidiary, which is centred around its Sunderland plant, has announced a 21 per cent jump in pre tax profits to the end of March, which takes it up to £117 million.
So far, Business Secretary Greg Clark has refused to give details of what was said during the talks which were held with Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn. This led to speculation that the firm had managed to secure something of a “sweetheart deal,” something which was strenuously denied by the government.
However, while its profits had increased during the year to March, revenues fell by 1.4 per cent to £5.19 billion, and vehicle production dropped by 3,000 vehicles, although Britain was still responsbile for producing 478,000 vehicles during the year.
The car maker described it as “another year of very strong production for the Sunderland site”. The plant will be making the new Qashqai and X-Trail models. Sunderland, however, did vote strongly to leave Europe, only to find that Nissan was potentially looking at moving to the mainland if it did not receive the assurances it needed. Currently, Nissan employs around 7,500 people in Britain.
Nissan has talked up fears that leaving Europe could lead to higher tariffs being imposed for the automotive industry and further red tape which could lead to the cost of exporting rising. Around 80 per cent of the Nissan vehicles made in Britain are exported.