Nissan cancels plans to build X-Trail in United Kingdom, citing Brexit

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"The continued uncertainty around the UK's future relationship with the European Union is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future", Nissan's Europe chairman Gianluca de Ficchy said in a statement, after explaining that keeping production in Japan would reduce "upfront investment costs".

Japanese car-maker Nissan is set to abandon plans to build its X-Trail model at its Sunderland plant, reports say.

Tory Remainer Anna Soubry tweeted that it was "difficult not to be angry" at the reports, adding: "This is Brexit reality".

But Nissan's announcement is potentially more damaging for the government because of the prominence it gave to securing the carmaker's investment in October 2016, four months after British voters made a decision to leave the EU.

The Sunderland plant, which has been active since 1986, employs nearly 7,000 people and produces around 2,000 cars a day.

Precise details of the Japanese car-maker's announcement are unclear but Sky News understands that it will initially back out of its plans to produce the X-Trail model, which it confirmed in 2016.

"This represents a serious blow to the communities that depend on the jobs Nissan creates and supports", Keir Starmer, the opposition Labour Party's Brexit spokesman, wrote on Twitter.

Steve Turner, Unite's assistant general secretary for manufacturing, said: "It is beyond disappointing that our members are hearing about their futures and the holding back of planned investments in Sunderland through media reports and not directly from the company".

Nissan has a task force that is considering all of the possible Brexit scenarios and the potential impact on the business, de Ficchy said in a letter to workers.

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The factory builds the Qashqai and Juke SUVs, along with the Nissan Leaf and Infiniti's Q30 and QX30 models, according to the Automotive News Europe Guide to European Assembly Plants.

The British auto industry has already seen a dramatic drop in investment since the vote, and business leaders have warned of further blows to the sector after the UK's withdrawal.

There had been concerns that Nissan - part-owned by France's Renault - could move production to France in future to avoid any post-Brexit EU tariffs.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said in June that investment in new models, equipment and facilities in the United Kingdom was $A625 million in the first half of the year, compared to $A1.1 billion in the same period of 2017 - a decrease of about half.

The company is the largest employer in the city which voted to leave the bloc by 61 percent.

"These rumours are disturbing and will cause the workforce to have a very anxious weekend even though production of the X-Trail would have necessitated additional jobs on site".

‎Ford announced on Friday it was cutting 400 jobs at its engine plant in Bridgend, South Wales.

Jaguar Land Rover has announced global cuts of some 4,500 jobs, with the lion's share coming in the UK.