Any final exit by Britain from the European Union that worsens business conditions through increased tariffs would threaten the sustainability of Nissan Motor Co.’s 7201.T UK operations, the Japanese car maker’s chief operating officer (COO) cautioned.
Nissan, which employs 7,000 people at Britain’s biggest auto plant in Sunderland, north-eastern England, in June urged for an “orderly balanced Brexit”. Its latest warning, however, comes as the EU cautions Britain it has less than 10 days left to secure a deal that will govern trade from next year.
“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,” Nissan’s COO Ashwani Gupta told Reuters on Wednesday.
Almost 11 months after it formally quit the union, Britain and the EU have still not worked out a deal that will affect nearly $1 trillion (£754.9 billion) in annual trade following a transition period that has kept custom rules in place.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned his top ministers that a trade agreement is far from certain, but that Britain would thrive with, or without, a deal.
But tariffs resulting from a no-deal Brexit would raise costs for Nissan, while any delay in parts supply from overseas due to new customs checks could slow production.
Gupta said Nissan was not seeking compensation from Britain for costs incurred from any no-deal Brexit, contradicting press reports that it and Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T would do so.
“That is not only the UK’s transition plan, every country is talking about electrification. We are ready.”