Business

Nissan £61m in doubt after investment U-turn

Nissan X-TrailImage copyright Nissan

Nissan will be forced to reapply for £61m of taxpayer support after backtracking on a promise to built its X-Trail SUV in Sunderland.

A letter from the government to Nissan, written in 2016, revealed that the Japanese carmaker would only get the money if they made the car in the UK.

The government said that Nissan had not received any of the funds so far and would have to reapply for them.

Business Minister Greg Clark will make a statement this afternoon.

He is due to address the House of Commons at around 17:00.

In the 2016 letter from Mr Clark to Nissan’s then chief executive Carlos Ghosn, he said the funding was contingent “on a positive decision by the Nissan board to allocate production of the Qashqai and X-Trail models to the Sunderland plant”.

Nissan had originally asked for £80m in state support but following a review by an independent advisory committee that figure was reduced £61m.

On Sunday, when Nissan announced its decision not to build the X-Trail SUV in Sunderland, the firm’s Europe chairman, Gianluca de Ficchy, said that “the continued uncertainty around the UK’s future relationship with the EU is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future”.

The government had to clarify its position after Business Minister Richard Harrington told the BBC that Nissan would get the £61m support payment.

Mr Harrington told BBC Newcastle: “The £60m still stands. It’s to do with research and development and developing alternative technologies and making sure Nissan is at the forefront of that.

“This was nothing to do with the X-Trail.”


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