Nissan Pushes Back Qashqai Production.
Nissan’s new Qashqai crossover is being delayed amid uncertainty created by Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been reported. Nissan announced four years ago that it would build a next generation Qashqai as well as a new X-Trail at its Sunderland plant.
Plans for the X-Trail were scrapped last year and a start date for Qashqai production has still not been unveiled.
The Financial Times has reported claims that production of the Qashqai had been due to begin at the Sunderland plant next month, but that production has now been postponed until after April next year.
Nissan, however, says no date has been finalised as yet.
The report claims the date has been pushed back predominantly because of the impact the pandemic is having on demand, but that it will also give Nissan the chance to analyse the impact Brexit and whether a deal on tariffs is brokered or not – will have on its future plans.
A Nissan spokesperson said: “Preparations continue for the launch of the new Qashqai in Sunderland, which represents a £400m investment in the plant. “We have not yet announced a date for the next-generation model, but look forward to sharing some exciting news in the coming months”.
As it stands, the UK has left the EU but remains part of the Customs Union and Single Market until the end of the transition period on New Year’s Eve. With more than half of the Sunderland-built cars being exported to Europe, Nissan has repeatedly warned that ‘no-deal’ Brexit would jeopardise the future of its UK operation.
The workers of the Sunderland plant were given some relief in May when Nissan CEO and president Makoto Uchida said the site remains an important part of its plans for its European business.
However, Nissan’s global chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta warned a week later that the company would not be able to stand by its commitment to the Sunderland plant if the UK left the European Union without a trade deal that enabled tariff-free EU access.
At the time, he said: “If we are not getting the current tariffs, it’s not our intention but the business will not be sustainable.That’s what everybody has to understand.”
European chairman Gianluca de Ficchy also last year visited the plant, where he demanded clarity from the Government while warning that export tariffs would put the car giant’s European business model in jeopardy.