Nissan to commit to making new Qashqai and Juke electric models in Sunderland

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Nissan is to commit to making future electric versions of its two best selling cars in Sunderland.

Japanese automaker Nissan is set to reveal plans for producing its new electric Qashqai and Juke models at its Sunderland site, preserving approximately 6,000 jobs. The investment, estimated at £1 billion, will be backed by a government contribution from the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF), which received a £2 billion top-up in the recent Autumn Statement. Nissan is the sole car manufacturer in the UK with its dedicated battery plant, owned by Chinese company AESC, and expanded last year with contributions from ATF and Sunderland Council.

Post-Brexit trading rules effective from January 2023 could impose a 10% tariff on cars traded between the UK and the EU unless carmakers source 45% of components by value from the UK or EU. This rule, designed to protect the European industry from cheap imports, particularly impacts electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers as batteries are a significant EV component. Stellantis, the owner of Vauxhall, Peugeot, Citroen, and Fiat, previously warned of potential factory closures in the UK if the Brexit deal was not renegotiated.

Notably, Nissan’s decision to manufacture battery packs for its successful Juke and Qashqai models on-site at the Sunderland plant avoids these tariffs. Nissan initiated electric vehicle production in the North East last year and committed to producing the successor to its Leaf EV at the Sunderland facility. The Autumn Statement introduced a key business tax change, “full expensing,” enabling businesses to offset 100% of investment in new plant and machinery against profits—a change beneficial for profitable manufacturers like Nissan.

In September, Nissan announced plans to exclusively manufacture electric vehicles by 2030, aligning with the UK government’s postponed ban on new petrol and diesel car sales until 2035. Despite this shift towards electric vehicles, the Office for Budget Responsibility revised its forecast for the UK electric vehicle market, anticipating that only 38% of new vehicles sold in 2027 will be electric, down from the previous estimate of 67% in March.

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