POLITICO — 2023-11-24
Japanese carmaker Nissan has committed to building three new electric vehicle models in the north east of England in a major boost to Britain’s automotive sector.
The long-term commitment by Nissan is expected to be backed by government support.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Nissan’s investment was a “massive vote of confidence in the UK’s automotive industry.” Sky News reported earlier this week that Sunak had been personally involved in discussions with Nissan.
The company announced on Friday 24 November, that it will build new electric Qashqai, Juke and LEAF models at its factory in Sunderland, which will also be supplied by an additional battery gigafactory and electricity grid infrastructure.
Taken together, the plans represent £2 bn of investment and protect 7,000 direct British jobs, Nissan said.
The overall sum of government support for the project was not disclosed on Friday, but will include £15 m for a research center in Bedfordshire and the creation of a North East Investment Zone.
Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch, who has previously said the UK “can’t pick winners” as the automotive industry transitions to electric vehicles, said on Friday: “The investment by Nissan in Sunderland shows once again that the government’s plan for the automotive sector is working.”
“The forthcoming Advanced Manufacturing Plan will build on this deal and other recent big investment wins for the UK car industry, helping to support thousands of jobs and drive growth across the UK”
In July, the group behind Jaguar Land Rover announced plans to build a £4 bn electric vehicle battery gigafactory in Somerset with the help of government subsidies understood to be in the region of £500 m.
In September, BMW also pledged to build its electric Mini cars in the UK, backed by a £75 m government subsidy.
Earlier this week, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the government would set aside £2 bn from 2025 to boost home-grown manufacturing of electric vehicles and their supply chains.