It's all been doom and gloom from commentators regarding the
Brexit vote and whether we negotiate a deal to allow access to the
European Free market or whether we opt for a hard Brexit.
But the news from Nissan that confirms it will build its new
Qashqai and X-Trail SUV models at its Sunderland plant following
government 'assurances' offers renewed hope for the UK economy and
the automotive sector in particular.
Following the June 23rd vote the Japanese
manufacturing giant's commitment to the UK's largest car plant had
been in doubt, but now there's relief all round.
Importantly perhaps for those of us further down the supply
chain, the Government's Business Secretary Greg Clark clearly
stated no promise of financial compensation had been made to
Nissan. This surely means Nissan understands the strength of the UK
economy and the skilled workforce available to them outweighs the
risk of moving production elsewhere.
And news that in the three months following the Brexit vote,
economic growth in the UK rose by 0.5%, which although lower than
the previous quarter's 0.7% is higher than the 0.3% many
In amongst all the various comments on the news, from all angles
was one that made me smile and it came from Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's
He said he welcomed Prime Minister Theresa May's 'commitment to
the automotive industry in Britain' and if she really is as
confident as this decision seems to indicate, then perhaps as a
small but important part of that industry, we can also look forward
with renewed confidence.
Our chrome plated parts have featured on Nissan models, so the
decision has greater resonance here in Southend, but I'm pleased
7000 workers at the plant in Sunderland have a brighter future.
Whilst we don't know any details regarding the 'support and
assurance' Nissan received from the UK government, it's unlikely
Borough will see any such direct assurances from the Prime
Minister. We will just have to rely on the quality of our moulding
and chrome plating of components to attract the business we need to
It makes one wonder if we will now see all the other carmakers
with big decisions to make, not only stay, but increase their
investments following this apparent commitment to protect Nissan
from the impact of our exit from the EU.
The next few months will prove interesting, as will the
conversations we have with buyers from manufacturers with
operations here and across Europe. Trying to understand what the
decision from Nissan means to the automotive supply chain and gauge
the confidence in the sector will certainly add a little spice to
our water-cooler chats.