Nissan boss warns UK over possible EU exit

 

Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn warned the carmaker would have "to reconsider its strategy" if the UK exited the EU

Related Stories

Nissan will reconsider its investment in the UK if Britain leaves the European Union, chief executive Carlos Ghosn has told the BBC.

Prime Minister David Cameron has promised a public vote on EU membership in 2017 if the Conservatives win the next general election in 2015.

But Mr Ghosn also added that he considered the exit scenario to be unlikely.

Nissan's new model will be built in Sunderland, where it employs 6,500.

Analysis

Carlos Ghosn may be the most important global industrialist yet to have weighed into the row around the UK's membership of the EU.

In a brief interview with the global boss of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, he was upbeat about the new Qashqai and the fact that it would secure jobs in Sunderland.

He's also more positive than most about the prospects for the European auto market and for electric vehicles. But it's his comments on the UK's membership of the EU that are making the headlines.

The good news is that almost three decades after starting production in Sunderland, the plant remains a cornerstone of Nissan's operations. It was built to serve the European market. But Mr Ghosn emphasised that it is a European plant, based in the UK.

Then came the bombshell - if the UK were to leave the EU, the Nissan would have to "reconsider our strategy and investments for the future".

Mr Ghosn's empire stretches around the globe. He understands trading blocks, the merits of free trade, the consequences of trade barriers and tariffs. So his comments are pragmatic.

Would the Sunderland plant close if the UK were to leave the EU? No. But in years to come, would it remain the focus of its European operations, continually winning new models and investment? That is now far from clear.

@JohnMoylanBBC

When asked how Nissan would react if the UK were to leave the EU, Mr Ghosn said: "If anything has to change, we [would] need to reconsider our strategy and our investments for the future."

Nissan 'blessed'

Praising the Sunderland plant, Mr Ghosn told the BBC it was one of the most productive in Europe and said Nissan was "blessed" to own it.

With sales of more than 240,000 last year, the Qashqai, to be built in Sunderland, is Nissan's best-selling car in Europe.

The car accounts for more than half the output of the Sunderland plant and Mr Ghosn says the new model "ensures" a lot of jobs in the city.

This is not the first time that Mr Ghosn has linked Nissan's UK investment to the country's role within the EU.

In October 2002, he told the BBC News website that the Sunderland plant's future would depend on whether the UK adopted the euro.

However, the UK has continued to use the pound and Nissan is still making cars in Sunderland.

European market

Mr Ghosn, who is also chief executive of Nissan's sister company Renault, says that after five years of decline the European car market is arriving at "the end of the tunnel".

He says that next year, the European market should be stable with possibly a little growth.

Action by the European Central Bank, including Thursday's cut in interest rates, could help that recovery according to Mr Ghosn.

 

More on This Story

Related Stories

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1518.

    @1512. Sally the Rothbardian

    1502.Old Muso
    How is wanting to reclaim sovereignty xenophobic, can you explain your comment?

    ----------

    Because it suggests a closed, parochial mindset that would rather see this country done down than see it flourish within the EU and on the world stage. A mind that is, at its root, deeply racist, a mind that is xenophobic.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1517.

    Interestingly I had been looking at getting a Qashqui. With that kind of attitude from the CEO Nissan can go jump, no nissan for me!. I hope that they lose a lot of business from that kind of comment.

  • Comment number 1516.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1515.

    1499. The Village Idiot
    "I think most people only want what we started with in 1973"

    Yep we do, and that is what we voted for, unfortunately we were conned by successive governments into believing that the current EU is what we voted for. Free trade become a members club only and with an annual fee to be one. Going against the grain will cause an economical crisis for the UK.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1514.

    Surely the biggest factor would be the exchange rate with the Euro and as we aren't in the Euro it wouldn't make a lot of difference.
    He is probably more worried that he might have to pay some UK tax as opposed to in Luxembourg or wherever.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1513.

    should the UK leave the EU, at least that would force Cameron or another government to look hard at how they can survive by themselves and lets be honest our leaders have been selling off parts of the UK for years, sooner or later it may catch up to them. we are so comfortable in our lie of being "Great Britain" that most stuff is made in china or europe, but not one thing we can do ourselves.

  • Comment number 1512.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1511.

    1471 Kitty

    "People who voted then, are saying that if they knew what it would end up as, they wouldn't have voted Yes"

    Well I was among those who voted Yes - were you?

    Some of these same people today say they wish they hadn't while others say they wish they had

    We can all change our minds one way or another after nearly 40 years

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1510.

    Companies investing in the UK would like to make sure their businesses can compete worldwide. If the UK leaves the EU, exports would be hit big time as one needs to be part of groups to be able to survive and thrive.
    David Cameron was not educated in economics, hence his dumb and ridiculous ideas all based only on talk will hit the UK big time.
    By that time he will be sitting in the opposition.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1509.

    No doubt Nissan will not be alone in thinking this. Many multinationals will be planning where their future investment goes in the event of a yes vote by the UK. An independent Scotland in the EU could do quite well if England vote to leave.

  • Comment number 1508.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1507.

    Its like some dystopian futuristic nightmare with corporations deciding govt policy.So Nissan would 'review' investment?Given the UK is one of the biggest markets for his cars he prob needs reminding how pouting because a society exercises free while might rebound and cost him many sales if he relocates.And to where?France?Their economy is shambolic.Enough EU propaganda and bullying-call his bluff

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1506.

    1490 joecos

    "Honda could pull the plug on production in Sunderland anytime."

    psst, Honda are in Swindon. Ah well, its all up norf innit.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1505.

    1493.Sally the Rothbardian
    You mentioned democracy
    -
    Yes, not the mob, but if public = mob, you don't like the public having a say?

    why should the mob impose its versions on us all?
    -
    Because without that everyone does what they want - steals, murders, maybe works. Is that what you are proposing? Then no technology as it requires people to work together & we become hunter gatherers again

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1504.

    Well, reading the general drift of these comments I would strongly advise kids currently going through senior school at the moment to make sure they learn their modern languages, and exit this pathetic small minded country before they find that jobs are even more difficult to come by than they are now!

    I fear for the UK's future, and that of it's younger generation.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1503.

    Riggadon #1480 -

    Yes, I agree. Why are the pro-Euros so afraid that we'll leave the Euroclub, I wonder? Perhaps because when we've gone somebody else will have to pay the membership fees. Let's retrieve our country, our way of life and our self-respect.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1502.

    He is right to warn. The xenophobes want to return us to the dark ages.

  • Comment number 1501.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1500.

    1482. Trytastic
    "so we stop buying Ford products"

    Sounds easy.

    We have lost £trillions in our manufacturing, it's too late to reverse the trend.
    Steel manufacturing.
    Shipping.
    Railways
    Electronics.

    Do we really want to ship our only remaining big industry abroad because we can't see further than our nose.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1499.

    I think most people only want what we started with in 1973, a European free trading block.

    Britain is a democracy and we should live or die by are own laws, rules and own currency.

    Trying to build a united states of Europe is a total waste of time and money.

 

Page 1 of 76

 

More Business stories

RSS

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    INTEREST RATES 09:35:

    There was no change in voting patterns at the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee at September's meeting. Two members voted in favour of raising interest rates to 0.75%.

     
  2.  
    UNEMPLOYMENT 09:32: Breaking News

    The unemployment total fell by 146,000 to 2.02 million in the three months to the end of July, official figures show. The Office for National Statistic said the unemployment rate for the period was 6.2%, down from the previous level of 6.4%.

     
  3.  
    EUROPEAN CAR SALES 09:27:
    The new body of the Volkswagen Passat

    Car sales across Europe rose for the 12th month in a row industry figures show today. They were 1.8% higher at 701,118 in August, from 688,464 a year-earlier the Association of European Carmakers (ACEA) says. Volkswagen, Ford and Opel all benefited from improved demand in Spain, Portugal and Ireland. But car sales in Germany - Europe's largest car market - were 0.4% lower.

     
  4.  
    INTEREST RATES 09:20:

    At 09:30 the Bank of England publishes minutes from the interest rate policy meeting in September. In August's meeting two members of nine-strong monetary policy committee voted to raise interest rates. Will others have joined them in September? Watch this space.

     
  5.  
    Via Twitter Kevin Peachey Personal finance reporter, BBC News

    tweets: "Hold music among biggest consumer service irritations says @WhichUK survey - any views on the most annoying?"

     
  6.  
    TECH SHARES ARE UP 09:04:
    imagination technologies

    Shares in two of Britain's most successful technology companies are sharply higher this morning. Imagination Technologies, which designs chips for mobile devices, has seen its shares jump 6%. That's after the company forecast a strong performance in the second half of the year. Fellow chip designer, ARM Holdings is leading the FTSE 100 higher with a 1.9% gain.

     
  7.  
    HEADLINES
     
  8.  
    MARKET UPDATE 08:34:

    Shares in London are higher in early trading with the FTSE 100 up 16 points

    • Smiths Group slumps 5.4% after sales fall
    • JD Sports up 2.7% following half year results
    • Pound slightly higher at $1.6296
     
  9.  
    SCOTTISH REFERENDUM 08:26: BBC Radio 4

    Former Bank of England Deputy Governor, Sir John Gieve says the Bank is "a creature of Westminster" and will be an adviser in any currency negotiations. "I think it could work, " he says of currency union but adds it "relies on careful negotiation". A lot of policy decision would remain in London, he adds. If the economies of Scotland and the rest of the UK began to diverge more than they do at present that could be a problem.

     
  10.  
    INTERNET OF THINGS 08:17: BBC Radio 4

    The Internet of Things is a phrase bandied around. ARM Holdings boss, Simon Segars is fresh from a conference about it - but it all sounds a bit pedestrian. Mr Segars says one example is a coffee cup that has a microchip in it that could tell you if you're consuming too much coffee. There is already a fork that can tell you if you are eating too quickly. On Today he also mentions apps that help you find a parking space.

     
  11.  
    JD SPORTS 08:11: Radio 5 live

    We're not far off being saturated with sports shops in the UK says Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports on Radio 5 live. But the company is having "significant success" competing in Spain, German, France and the Netherlands.

     
  12.  
    PHONES 4U RESCUE 07:57: BBC Radio 4

    It is "perhaps not surprising" that Vodafone and EE are looking at buying parts of Phones4U now that it is in administration, says Laura Lambie of Investec Wealth and Investment on Today. Both EE and Vodafone had been approached by Phones 4U which tried to interest them in buying the retailer, she says. After refusing that approach, Vodafone and EE are now looking "to pick up assets on the cheap", according to Ms Lambie.

     
  13.  
    SONY PROFIT WARNING 07:50:
    xperia phones

    The profit warning at Sony is the result of a review of its mobile phone business. It says there has been "a significant change in the market and competitive environment". As a result, it has taken a £1bn charge to reflect the loss of value of the mobile business. It is reducing the number of models it produces and is concentrating on a premium lineup.

     
  14.  
    JD SPORTS PROFITS 07:36: BBC Radio 4

    "The high street is alive and well," says Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports on Today. The retailer has a strong presence in shopping malls and online but Mr Cowgill says a high street presence is "still very important to JD Sports". The retailer has a contingency plan if Scotland votes Yes to independence. But he adds: "We don't think there will be a major impact on our trade. We think there will be no change to prices [if Scotland votes Yes]."

     
  15.  
    SONY PROFIT WARNING 07:32: Breaking News
    Sony office

    Sony expects to report a much deeper loss this year than originally forecast. The firm now expects a loss of 230bn yen (£1.3bn) for the year which ends 31 March. Its previous forecast was for a 50bn yen loss.

     
  16.  
    JD SPORTS PROFITS 07:29:

    Profits at retailer JD Sports doubled in the first half of the year. Before exceptional items it made a pre-tax profit of £19.9m. Sales at stores open for more than a year rose 13% from the same period a year ago. But its fashion business which includes Scotts and Bank had a "disappointing" first half, the company said.

     
  17.  
    INDITEX RESULTS 07:10:
    Zara store

    The world's biggest clothing retailer, Inditex has posted a 2.4% fall in first half net profit. The owner of Zara, made 928m euros (£738m). That was not as bad as some analysts were expecting. The company also said that sales for the start of the third quarter rose 10%.

     
  18.  
    SPACESHIP CONTRACT 06:56: Radio 5 live
    Space X Capsule

    Nasa has awarded up to $6.2bn (£3.8bn) to Boeing and SpaceX to develop space vehicles that can take crew into space. The firms are aiming to have their spaceships ready by 2017. Since the space shuttles were retired in 2011, the Americans have relied on Russia and its Soyuz vehicles to get to the International Space Station.

     
  19.  
    SCOTTISH REFERENDUM 06:38: BBC Radio 4
    Scottish bank notes

    Former Bank of England deputy governor Sir John Gieve tells the Today programme he expects Bank staff to be at work very early on Friday morning to try to calm markets, whichever way Scotland votes in the independence referendum. In particular, the Bank will be busying itself with the possibility of "deposit flight" so that "we don't get the sort of panic that there was with Northern Rock". That means for starters making sure that cash machines remain fully stocked.

     
  20.  
    ARM CHIEF EXECUTIVE 06:27: Radio 5 live
    Arm processor

    It's arguably Britain's most successful technology company, but you may have never heard of it. ARM designs computer chips and is worth almost twice as much as Marks and Spencer. On Wake Up to Money chief executive Simon Segars says most of the firm's customers are in California, China, Taiwan and South Korea. "It's a shame" there are not more technology companies in the UK, he says. People have been keener to go into financial services, Mr Segars says.

     
  21.  
    SCOTTISH REFERENDUM 06:16: Radio 5 live

    Whichever way the Scottish independence vote goes, the business impact "remains unclear" says Nora Senior, chair at Scottish Chambers of Commerce on Wake Up to Money. Big questions over currency, Europe, debt, pensions and tax were raised in the run up to the vote, she says. "Business wants a decision that is clear and swiftly executed," Ms Senior says.

     
  22.  
    BEREAVEMENT AND WORK 06:10: Radio 5 live

    A third of employees who have suffered bereavement in the past five years felt that they had not been treated with compassion by their employer, according to a survey by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). It is launching guidance for companies. "Managers need appropriate training and support," said Sir Brendan Barber, ACAS chair on Wake Up to Money.

     
  23.  
    PHONES 4U RESCUE 06:00:
    Phones 4U sign

    The Financial Times is reporting that Vodafone and EE have approached the administrators of Phones 4U about buying parts of the failed business. Around 550 shops and 6,000 jobs are at risk. The private equity owners of Phones 4U and its founder, John Caudwell have blamed the aggressive tactics of EE and Vodafone for the collapse of the firm. Both network operators deny those accusations.

     
  24.  
    05:59: Matthew West Business Reporter

    Morning everyone. As always you can get in touch with us via email on bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or twitter @bbcbusiness.

     
  25.  
    05:59: Ben Morris Business Reporter

    We'll get the latest unemployment figures and data on earnings at 09:30 this morning. Plus the Financial Times says that Vodafone and EE are looking to buy parts of their former customer, Phones 4U. Stay with us.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.