Fears for safety of Nissan jobs in UK after sales and profits tumble
- Headquartered in Sunderland, Nissan employs nearly 8,000 people in the UK
- Its car production fell 6.2 per cent to 487,000 vehicles in the year to March 2018
- Profits plunged 6.6 per cent to £133million
Japanese firm Nissan has become the latest car manufacturing giant to publish gloomy sales figures amid concerns about its future in Britain.
Turnover at Nissan’s UK business, which is headquartered in Sunderland, fell by £93million last year to £6.3billion – while its profits plunged 6.6 per cent to £133million.
The automotive behemoth, which employs nearly 8,000 people in the UK, also revealed its car production fell 6.2 per cent to 487,000 vehicles in the year to March 2018.
Concerns: Nissan workers in Sunderland where car production has fallen
The figures cap off a tough week for the UK car industry, with Jaguar Land Rover and Ford both announcing thousands of job cuts that are likely to hit Britain.
They also emerge at a time when Nissan’s European workforce is facing uncertainty after chairman Carlos Ghosn – who is believed to have struck a secret Brexit deal for the firm with the UK Government – was sacked following his arrest in Japan.
Ghosn, who is also chief executive and chairman of French firm Renault thanks to an alliance between the firms, was arrested and charged by Japanese authorities who accused him of under-reporting his pay packages.
He has been detained in prison since November and last week Tokyo prosecutors indicted him with two new charges.
The departure of Ghosn, who denies wrongdoing, from Nissan has raised questions about the firm’s future in Europe after Brexit. In 2016, shortly after the UK voted to leave the European Union, Ghosn held talks with the UK Government, which subsequently admitted offering Nissan key assurances.
Out: Chairman Carlos Ghosn was arrested and charged by Japanese authorities who accused him of under-reporting his pay packages
But as part of its Companies House accounts, filed last week, Nissan issued a series of veiled threats over Brexit. The firm said: ‘Any substantive change to the trading arrangements between the UK and the rest of the world could limit the company’s competitiveness.
‘Equally changes to laws and regulations to employment (including the interpretation and enforcement of those laws and regulations) could, directly or indirectly, increase Nissan’s labour costs, which, given the size of our workforce, could have an adverse effect on the company.’
The automotive industry, which supports hundreds of thousands of British jobs, is deeply concerned about the potential loss of frictionless trade with the EU, as well as the possibility of losing access to European workers.
International firms such as Nissan have based themselves in the UK and used it as a gateway to mainland Europe, taking advantage of quick and easy trade enabled by the customs union.
Last Thursday, Jaguar Land Rover – which is owned by Indian conglomerate Tata – announced 4,500 job cuts, with the majority in the UK where it employs 40,000 people.
Jaguar Land Rover – which is owned by Indian conglomerate Tata – announced 4,500 job cuts
The firm said it was facing numerous problems, including weakening sales in China and a fall in demand for diesel cars. It also referenced Brexit uncertainty.
Also on Thursday, Ford – which has 13,000 workers in Britain – revealed plans for a shake-up of its European business, which is likely to lead to thousands of job cuts, including in the UK. Ford has major factories in Bridgend and Essex.
Ford reported a $1billion loss in Europe last year, with $600million directly attributed to Brexit and the falling value of sterling following the 2016 referendum.
In an interview with The Mail on Sunday last month, Ford’s European boss Steven Armstrong said: ‘If the industry can’t continue to operate competitively, we would have to think about where we continue and how we continue to invest.’
SAVE MONEY ON MOTORING