‘Catastrophe has been averted at Nissan’ says expert

Nissan is to build its new Qashqai and X-Trail models in Sunderland
Nissan is to build its new Qashqai and X-Trail models in Sunderland

Nissan missing out on the Qashqai would have been ‘catastrophic’ for the entire North East, says a leading automotive industry expert.

Prof Garyl Rhys, from the University of Cardiff Business School, said: “Nissan is unique in a very, very important way.

“In the cases of Honda and Toyota, their supply chain is spread all over the UK. In the case of Nissan, 75% is in the North East.

“When everything is going well, that’s fantastic. But if it went, it would be a disaster because so much of the supply chain is in the region. It is almost like a mining village.

“Economists are not supposed to use words like catastrophic – we are not supposed to be over the top – but it would have been catastrophic.

“That was the nub of the problem facing the Government. If someone like Nissan did leave the UK economy, the consequences would be dramatic to say the least.”

Nissan suppliers have welcomed news its Sunderland plant will build two new models.

Gary Graham, managing director of Unipres’ plant close to the car giant, said: “The announcement by Nissan UK is fantastic for the automotive industry, the Sunderland economy and for North East manufacturing generally.”

Lear makes seats for Nissan at its Houghton plant. Global president JIT Gideon Jewel said: “It is fantastic, not only in terms of the people who work for us today but it really safeguards the huge investment we have made in the area.

“It is great news that all the hard work that has gone into Nissan and the supply chain in the area has paid off.”