The chief executive of Nissan has said he is “reasonably optimistic” that the UK will continue to be a key partner of the European Union despite its vote to leave the common trading block.
Carlos Ghosn, who also heads sister car brand Renault, stressed that future decisions about investment in Nissan’s vast Sunderland plant will depend on the outcome of Brexit discussions.
The Japanese manufacturer employs some 6,700 people at its Wearside operation, which is the most productive in Europe, with another 30,000 or so in the supply chain employed elsewhere in the region. The plant produced 500,000 cars last year, including the best-selling Qashqai model.
Speaking in a radio interview, Ghosn said: “Well I don’t think today you can talk about any impact before we see what is the new status of the UK.
“Most of the production out of Sunderland is exported to Europe. So obviously for us the relationship which is going to prevail between the UK and Europe is very important.”
He added: “We are reasonably optimistic at the end of the day, common sense will prevail from both sides.”
A shock win for Leave in Sunderland came despite warnings from Nissan about the potential consequences of Brexit. More than six out of ten people who voted in the city opted to turn their back on the EU.
At the time, Nissan declined to comment on the British people’s choice and the implications, but previously made it plain Remain was its preferred option for jobs and trade.