Nissan decision to build new Qashqai and X-Trail in Sunderland hailed by Wearside's political figures
News that Nissan has chosen its Sunderland plant to build its next-generation Qashqai and add production of the new X-Trail model has been welcomed across the political spectrum of Wearside.
There had been concerns about the future of the car giant's plant in the North East after the UK leaves the European Union.
The news, which will secure thousands of jobs, is the first major UK automotive decision since the Brexit vote in June.
Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West Sharon Hodgson, whose constituency covers Nissan, said: "The announcement today that Nissan has decided to base the production of their new Qashqai and X-Trail SUV here in Sunderland is fantastic news and shows that not only have Nissan got confidence to continue investing in our region but most importantly, reinforces Nissan’s continued faith in the skilled and highly capable workforce based at the plant.
"Credit must go to the workforce at the Nissan factory for their continued hard work in producing such high-quality cars, where nearly 80% of the cars rolling off the production line in Sunderland are exported across the globe. The talent and skill of Sunderland’s workforce is showcased across the world and puts Sunderland very squarely on the map as somewhere for businesses to come and invest.
"It is welcome that this announcement will secure 7,000 jobs at the plant and it is up to the Government to ensure that this news is not squandered by jeopardising it with an unclear Brexit strategy. Clarity is still very much needed on what will happen to our automotive industry as we continue down the path of exiting the European Union.
“Nissan is such a vital contributor to our regional economy but also our national economy, along with supporting such a large workforce totalling over 48,000 employees by Nissan directly and in the supply chain. This news should be welcomed by all and is a moment for the North East to celebrate some good news for our region’s much-needed economic growth and job creation."
Coun Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council, described the announcement as "great news".He said: "Today’s announcement is a major vote of confidence in Sunderland as a centre of global excellence in automotive manufacturing. "The announcement not only helps secure 7,000 jobs, but will also see the plant upgraded. "It’s a huge tribute to their excellent workforce and to Sunderland’s position as a ‘jewel in Nissan’s crown’. "The City Council and many others across the North East region have been working closely with the company to make sure they were best placed to compete for the Qashqai replacement. The Government, too, has been speaking with Nissan about how the UK’s economy remains competitive and efficient. "With the Government and so many others all working together, this is a tremendous boost for the city’s economy, the region’s economy, and for the UK economy. "Nissan Sunderland is a major British exporter and this will help secure many thousands more jobs in the regional and national supply chains. "We haven’t just heard about the Qashqai - we’ve secured a new model in the X-Trail too."Looking ahead, it means that the City Council and its joint-venture partner South Tyneside Council can also look more closely at the next steps for developing the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP). "This will help with further support for Nissan and the wider automotive sector to grow on land close to the company’s Sunderland plant with plans to create an additional 5,000 manufacturing jobs."
Bridget Phillipson, Labour MP for Houghton & Sunderland South, said: "I am delighted by the fantastic news that Nissan have decided to produce the next Qashqai and X-Trail models at its Sunderland plant, securing the future of more than 7,000 local jobs. I pay tribute to the workforce, whose role in making the Sunderland plant amongst the most productive in Europe no doubt contributed to this welcome outcome.
"Nissan have been clear that this decision follows the UK government's commitment to ensure that the Sunderland plant remains competitive, but have not indicated exactly what guarantees the Prime Minister has offered to protect the company from the impact of Britain's decision to leave the EU, and potentially the single market as well.
"As I mentioned during Tuesday's Westminster Hall debate in Parliament, it is imperative that the government also offers protection to the small and medium sized businesses in the Nissan supply chain and the wider manufacturing sector in the north east and beyond."
Julie Elliott, Labour MP for Sunderland Central, welcomed today’s announcement from Nissan but called on the Prime Minister act urgently to protect other manufacturing jobs in the region.
She said: "I wholeheartedly welcome the announcement that Nissan has decided to build the new Qashqai and X-Trail models at their Sunderland plant. The hard work of the thousands of people working at Nissan and in the supply chain has once again been rewarded.
"Let us celebrate this news.
"We must not, however, lose sight of the fact that tens of thousands of jobs in manufacturing are still at risk in our region because of the Government’s failure to give clarity regarding the future of our trading relationship with the EU.
"The Prime Minister needs to act now to secure the future of UK manufacturing."
Coun Peter Wood, leader of Sunderland Conservatives, said: "It is excellent news that Nissan has decided to build two new models at its Wearside plant and this should secure the future of car manufacturing in Sunderland for many years to come.
"It is a tribute to the workforce at the Washington plant that they have got such a good reputation in the automotive industry that Nissan have decided to make such a massive commitment.
"Clearly, with the economy expanding after the EU Referendum result and Nissan backing the UK after assurances from the Prime Minister, there is every reason for people to be hopeful."
The Sunderland plant, which has been active since 1986, employs almost 7,000 people, producing around 2,000 cars a day.
News that the Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail models will be built at Nissan's Sunderland plant, securing in the region of 7,000 jobs, has also been welcomed by local UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott.
He said: "I am absolutely delighted that these jobs have been secured and this is fantastic news not just for Nissan workers, but also for those working in jobs in the supply chain.
"This is a real much needed boost to the local economy.
"I wonder how long it will be before we hear the words 'despite Brexit' from those naysayers and doom-mongers who downplay every success and magnify every failure in an attempt to sabotage the will of the people and British prosperity.
"They were not slow to try to weaponise Nissan in their fight against the referendum result and this is one in the eye for them. They ought to reflect upon the jeopardy in which they place British jobs when they do so.
"This news is not just good news for the North East but the whole country as I have no doubt that the confidence shown by Nissan will be reflected by other companies."
Labour MEPs Jude Kirton-Darling MEP and Paul Brannen MEP have welcomed the news that Nissan will build the new Qashqai and the X-Trail SUV at its Sunderland plant.
Jude Kirton-Darling MEP said: "I am thrilled to hear that so many jobs in our region have been guaranteed, especially during such turbulent economic times.
"I am however concerned about the 30,000 jobs in the Nissan supply chain, and hope that guarantees for these jobs are offered also. The entire supply chain is vital to the North East economy and to the future prosperity of our region."
Paul Brannen MEP added: "This confirms the news in a study released on Monday which found that the North East is the best place outside of London to do business.
"Of course if this announcement is possible because of government support we need to make sure that the rest of the North East does not lose out in any deal the government negotiates."
Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Sunderland City Council, Coun Niall Hodson said: "This news from Nissan is good news for the city and a vote of confidence in an excellent and efficient Sunderland workforce.
"However there remain questions that Theresa May and her Government must answer. Nissan have said they only agreed to stay thanks to promises of compensation from the Government: but what are these financial commitments that have been made to Nissan to recompense them for losses associated with Brexit?
"This also poses a larger question of whether the taxpayer will be expected to compensate all large corporations affected by Brexit."