Nissan announced it cancelled plans to make its X-Trail SUV in the United Kingdom – a sharp blow to British Prime Minister Theresa May who fought to have the model built in northern England as she sought to shore up confidence in the British economy after it leaves the European Union.
Nissan said on Sunday it will consolidate production of the next generation X-Trail at its plant in Kyushu, Japan, where the model is currently produced, allowing the company to reduce investment costs in the early stages of the project.
That reverses a decision in late 2016 to build the SUV at Nissan’s Sunderland plant in northern England, which employs 7,000 workers. That plant will continue to make Nissan’s Juke and Qashqai models. The announcement on Sunday made no mention of any layoffs relating to the X-Trail decision.
“While we have taken this decision for business reasons, the continued uncertainty around the UK’s future relationship with the EU is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future,” Nissan Europe Chairman Gianluca de Ficchy said in a statement.
Less than two months before Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29, Britain still doesn’t have an agreement on what will replace 45 years of frictionless trade. This has caused an enormous amount of concern among businesses in Britain, which fear the country is going to crash out of the vast EU trade bloc without a divorce deal, a scenario economists predict would hurt the UK economy.