In another blow to UK car manufacturing, Japanese carmaker Nissan today (March 12) announced it would end production of the Infiniti Q30 at its Sunderland plant by the summer – just two months after the firm cancelled plans to produce its newest X-Trial model at the same site.
Unite said it would be working closely with Nissan to protect the jobs of workers affected by the carmaker’s decision to stop production of the Infiniti Q30 at its Sunderland plant.
Unite has said it was confident of securing redeployment opportunities for all 200 workers impacted by today’s decision as the union seeks assurances on future employment.
Nissan said that ending production of the Infiniti in Sunderland follows a decision to stop selling the model in Western Europe amid poor sales, as it struggles to compete with rival models such as Jaguar Land Rover, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
The automotive firm said in a statement that it “will focus the brand on its largest growth markets, specifically North America and China, while withdrawing from western Europe”.
Nissan went on to say that it was “working to find alternative opportunities for any employees who would be affected, consulting with employee representatives where necessary and identifying opportunities for transition and training support where appropriate.”
Commenting, Unite national officer Steve Bush said, “This decision, which is driven by poor sales, is obviously sad news. Unite is confident however that workers on the Infiniti Q30 production line who want to stay with Nissan can be redeployed within the Sunderland plant onto other models.
“In the coming weeks Unite will be working closely with Nissan to protect jobs and ensure that redeployment is carried out in an open and transparent way,” he added. “We will also be seeking assurances on future employment levels and the production of other models at Sunderland.”
The latest announcement comes amid job losses and uncertainty for the UK’s car workers and their colleagues in the supply chain.
Last month, Honda announced that it plans to close its Swindon factory, while a number of other UK-based car manufacturers issued warnings last week over how a no-deal Brexit would affect their operations.
BMW warned that it could shift production of the Mini and engine work to Europe in the event of a no deal Brexit. Separately Didier Leroy, chairman of Toyota’s European operations, said a no-deal outcome to EU withdrawal talks would be “terrible” and would create “big additional challenges” to Toyota’s UK operations’ competitiveness.
PSA boss Carlos Tavares meanwhile told ITV News that investment in Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant is on hold until the outcome of Brexit is decided.