Nissan to 'pull out of Europe and concentrate on UK' in event of hard Brexit
Nissan will pull out of mainland Europe and instead focus on its UK plant if Brexit leads to tariffs on car exports, it has been reported.
According to the Financial Times, the car giant plans to "double down" on its Sunderland base in a bid to dramatically increase its share of the UK market.
Under the contingency plan, Nissan would close its van-making plant in Barcelona while also shutting its facility in France.
The company believes that if rival carmakers face tariffs on the vehicles they sell into the British market, they would have a massive competitive advantage.
That would potentially allow them to increase their UK market share from 4% at the moment to 20%.
Nissan's Sunderland plant, which produces Qashqai, the Juke and the Leaf models, employs around 6,000 people and is a major employer in the north-east of England.
A spokesman for Nissan Europe said: "We deny such a contingency plan exists.
"We’ve modelled every possible ramification of Brexit and the fact remains that our entire business both in the UK and in Europe is not sustainable in the event of WTO tariffs.
"We continue to urge UK and EU negotiators to work collaboratively towards an orderly balanced Brexit that will continue to encourage mutually beneficial trade."
The report came as Boris Johnson prepares to unveil a tough negotiation strategy ahead of trade talks with the EU.
In a speech on Monday, the Prime Minister will say there is "no need" for the UK to sign up to Brussels regulations in exchange for a tariff-free agreement.