Nissan puts focus on UK plant but sparks anger with Spain closure | Business News

Nissan’s decision to centre European production at its UK plant in Sunderland and close its Barcelona factory has sparked angry protests by workers in Spain.

Employees of the Japanese carmaker set fire to tyres outside the Catalonia site, which is to close threatening the loss of 3,000 jobs.

The company is also to shut its factory in Indonesia.

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Nissan says Sunderland remains an important part of its plans for the European business

The announcement came as Nissan said it had sunk into the red for the first time since the financial crash, following four years of tumbling profits.

The firm plans to become smaller and more cost-efficient, building 20% fewer vehicles worldwide, after the coronavirus pandemic sent demand plunging.

A Nissan spokesman said: “Europe will remain an important part of Nissan’s global business.

“We have more than three decades of history in Europe, where Nissan created the crossover segment and took the lead in the rollout of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

“As the new Nissan mid-term plan explains, the company will be focusing on core models and technologies, which in Europe is our range of crossovers and electrified technologies.

“Sunderland remains an important part of our plans for the European business.

“The new Juke was recently launched, and the plant is now preparing for the arrival of the new Qashqai.”

The move to overhaul the global business came as Nissan posted an annual operating loss of 40.5bn yen (£307m) for the year to 31 March, its worst performance since 2008/09.

Over that period, it sold 4.8 million vehicles, the second decline in a row and a fall of 13% from last year.

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The survival plan follows a new strategy announced by Nissan and its partners Renault and Mitsubishi Motors to work more closely on developing and producing cars to reduce costs and keep the businesses viable.

Even before the spread of the coronavirus, Nissan’s slumping profits had forced it to rein in an aggressive expansion plan pursued by ousted leader Carlos Ghosn.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only ramped up the pressure to downsize.

Next week from Monday to Thursday, Dermot Murnaghan will be hosting After the Pandemic: Our New World – a series of special live programmes about what our world will be like once the pandemic is over.

We’ll be joined by some of the biggest names from the worlds of culture, politics, economics, science and technology. And you can take part too. If you’d like to be in our virtual audience – from your own home – and put questions to the experts, email afterthepandemic@sky.uk

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