Nissan, Daimler Join Ford in Wanting U.K. to Stay Inside EU

  • Nissan's Ghosn says stability beats `collection of unknowns'
  • The bigger Europe is, the better, says Daimler's Uebber

International automakers threw their weight behind Prime Minister David Cameron’s bid to keep Britain inside the European Union.

“Our preference as a business is, of course, that the U.K. stays within Europe -- it makes the most sense for jobs, trade and costs,” Nissan Motor Co.’s Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn said in a statement on Tuesday. “For us, a position of stability is more positive than a collection of unknowns.”

Meantime, Bodo Uebber, chief financial officer of Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler AG, told reporters in New York that “I’m in favor of the European ideal and the bigger it is, the better.”

The rejection of a so-called Brexit by the auto executives came the same day that bosses from 36 of Britain’s biggest 100 companies endorsed Cameron’s position as he puts the need to protect the economy atop the list of reasons to stay in the EU.

Foreign carmakers have an interest in the Brexit debate both because of the U.K.’s consumer base and also the country’s access to the 28-nation bloc’s single market, which means many have plants there.

“We make more cars now in the northeast of England than in the whole of Italy because of the great success of Nissan,” Cameron said in a speech near London today, adding the company’s view “is worth listening to.”

Nissan Employees

Yokohama, Japan-based Nissan said it directly employs 8,000 people in the U.K and a further 32,000 through dealerships and its supply chain. It produced 475,000 vehicles in Britain last year, exporting 80 percent of them.

“While we remain committed to our existing investment decisions, we will not speculate on the outcome nor what would happen in either scenario,” said Ghosn. “We obviously want the Nissan U.K. plant and engineering center to remain as competitive as possible when compared with other global entities, and each future investment opportunity will be taken on a case-by-case basis.”

The Nissan and Daimler executives spoke a day after Ford Motor Co. CEO Mark Fields told Bloomberg Television that the American carmaker believes “it’s really important for the U.K. to be part of a single market” and that “having the U.K. as part of a reformed EU is in the best interest of the U.K.”

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