Nissan boss 'more than 100% confident' in future of Sunderland plant as the new Qashqai model is revealed
Speaking shortly after the Japanese car giant unveiled their latest Qashqai model, which will be built at the Sunderland plant, the Chairman of Nissan Africa, Middle East, India, Europe and Oceania (AMIEO), Gianluca de Ficchy, has claimed that he is confident for the future post-Brexit.
The assurances are the light at the end of a Brexit tunnel after years of uncertainty surrounding the plant.
Just last month Nissan bosses confirmed the firm’s commitment following December’s Brexit deal agreement, which it said helped make the Sunderland plant competitive.
Bosses had previously warned that a no-deal scenario could put the North East plant at risk.
Speaking on Thursday, February 18, Gianluca de Ficchy said: “We always clearly advised that without certainty on a deal, it would have not been possible to continue if the outcome was negative for us.
"However we have been right to continue investing in Sunderland because Sunderland is one of the most efficient plants that we have in the world in terms of a cost perspective and in terms of the quality of vehicles produced.
"The fact that we have clear rules gives the message that we can continue operating in Europe, there was no short term alternative to the Sunderland plant.
”I have more than 100% confidence on maintaining that investment, as I have said, we have one of the most efficient plants among the group and we will continue that leverage going forward.”
It was confirmed late last year that the site will produce the new e-POWER Qashqui model, a hybrid vehicle, following on from investment in the Sunderland plant, and images were released on Thursday showing how the new model will look.
Described as “more muscular, sharp and modern” the new model will have more height and width and will be available in 11 body colours with five two-tone combinations, creating 16 variations to choose from.
Nissan’s best-selling car has been built on Wearside since 2006 and to celebrate the new model images of the car were projected onto the factory on Thursday evening.
Alan Johnson, Vice President of Manufacturing at Nissan Sunderland Plant, said it was an exciting time for the plant.
He said: “Qashqai is a huge part of our plant’s heritage, with more than three and a half million built since 2006.
“With its elegant design, dynamic driving and premium levels of technology the new model, unveiled today, represents the future.”
Nissan has said it is still investing in Sunderland, and will continue to do so now that the post-Brexit future is clear.
Gianluca de Ficchy said: “In 2020, we maintained the investment in the UK despite all the uncertainties in the last year.
"Today is important for us because we can launch a vehicle on conditions that are sustainable because of the new trade agreement.
"We have clear rules going forward, it is clear today and it is clear tomorrow.”