The Japanese paper Nikkei reported that the new Nissan Ariya will be built in Japan rather than at Nissan’s UK factory in Sunderland. According to the paper, Nissan considered Sunderland but Brexit worries led the manufacturer to decide in favour of exporting the Ariya from Japan.
A Nissan spokesperson confirmed that the Ariya will be built in Japan but said that had been the plan for ‘several years’.
Earlier this year, Nissan warned that its Sunderland plant might not be viable if Britain leaves the EU without a trade deal. The UK plant that makes the Leaf and Qashqai has, at times, built more than 500,000 units a year, though that dropped to 350,000 in 2019. About 80% of those models are exported.
In November, Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta talked about the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the Sunderland plant. He told Reuters: “If it happens without any sustainable business case obviously it is not a question of Sunderland or not Sunderland, obviously our UK business will not be sustainable, that’s it.
“If we are not getting the current tariffs, it’s not our intention but the business will not be sustainable. That’s what everybody has to understand.”
Under a no-deal Brexit, British car exports to the EU face a 10% tariff. This is compared to just 7.5% from Japan, currently. The trade deal Japan has with the EU means that tariff will be abolished altogether in 2026.
The Ariya is the first EV from Nissan since the Nissan Leaf debuted a decade ago. The model will be sold in phases next year in Japan, Western markets, and China. Ariyas bound for Europe and the US will be made at Nissan’s assembly plant in Japan’s Tochigi Prefecture, north of Tokyo.