To avoid tariffs on electric cars, Nissan will source more batteries from Britain. This is great news for the Japanese manufacturer’s factory in Sunderland. Under the rules agreed on 24th December as part of the deal between the EU and the UK, there are no import tariffs to the continent. This is providing the product meets local content rules.
For many of the 30,000 models of the Nissan Leaf produced each year at the Sunderland factory, this isn’t a problem. The 40kWh battery most commonly found in the Leaf is produced locally, thus avoiding EU tariffs. However, more powerful battery versions use an imported system, which would mean tariffs would be payable on vehicles exported to the EU.
This more powerful system will now be built in Britain to avoid tariffs and will, in turn, create jobs.
Carmakers based in Britain who can build cars from locally-sourced parts will begin to see Brexit as an opportunity. For companies such as Ford, however, prices will climb in the UK thanks to US-sourced parts.
Ashwani Gupta, Nissan’s chief operating officer, said:
“Brexit gives us the competitive advantage not only within the United Kingdom but outside the United Kingdom also.”
This is a change of tone for Nissan, a company that was quite vocal about Brexit’s effects on its UK operations. Now it is able to see that there are opportunities past the trade disruption. “Brexit, which we thought is a risk … has become an opportunity for Nissan,” said Gupta.