Nissan's Sunderland plant remains important part of business, says car giant

Car giant Nissan has stressed its Sunderland plant remains an "important part" of its business after announcing the closure of a factory in Spain.

The Japanese firm announced the closure of its site in Barcelona, with the loss of thousands of jobs, under a worldwide restructuring amid the crisis facing the motor industry because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Under a four-year plan, Nissan will cut production capacity and its model range by about a fifth to help cut costs.

The company posted an annual operating loss of 40.5 billion yen (£306.2 million) for the year to March 31.

A spokesman said: "Europe will remain an important part of Nissan's global business. We have more than three decades of history in Europe, where Nissan created the crossover segment and took the lead in the rollout of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

"As the new Nissan Mid Term Plan explains, the company will be focusing on core models and technologies, which in Europe is our range of crossovers and electrified technologies.

"Sunderland remains an important part of our plans for the European business. The new Juke was recently launched, and the plant is now preparing for the arrival of the new Qashqai."

Credit: PA images

Our transformation plan aims to ensure steady growth instead of excessive sales expansion.

Nissan chief executive Makoto Uchida

Unions say they're looking carefully at today's announcement.

Unite continues to push for sector level assistance from government to support the transition of our world-class automotive industry in these unprecedented times. But that does not mean we will stand by as companies discuss detrimental measures in reaction to immediate and short-term challenges.

Unite union national officer Steve Bush
Credit: PA/PA Archive/PA Images

Meanwhile, the Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West has given her reaction to the news that Nissan will not be closing the plant in Sunderland.

Sharon Hodgson said the news will come as a relief to her constituents.

Efficiency savings are still due to be made, and I want to add my voice to calls by Unite that they should not come in the form of job cuts or changes to terms and conditions for workers.

Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West