Nissan’s Ghosn ‘Confident’ U.K. Will Be Competitive After Brexit

  • Statement follows meeting with May to discuss Sunderland plant
  • Japanese carmaker’s chief had talked of seeking compensation

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn leaves No 10 Downing Street on Oct. 14, after meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Photographer: Niklas Halle'n/AFP via Getty Images

The U.K. will remain a favorable location for companies to operate despite challenges tied to its exit from the European Union, Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn said after meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May.

“I am confident the government will continue to ensure the U.K. remains a competitive place to do business,” Ghosn said in a statement on Friday, following a discussion with May about the future of the Japanese automaker’s plant in Sunderland, England. “We want to ensure that this high-performing, high-employment factory remains competitive globally and continues to deliver for our business and for Britain.”

Two weeks ago, Ghosn said Nissan may ask the U.K. to compensate it for any negative consequences resulting from Brexit before making any new investments. Manufacturers like Nissan, which exports most of the 2,000 cars built in Sunderland daily, have benefited from the pound’s fall since the June referendum. However, recent indications that May favors a so-called hard Brexit -- gaining greater control over immigration but losing membership in the single market -- have raised concerns that U.K. exports might face tariffs in the EU.

“This government is committed to creating and supporting the right conditions for the automotive industry to go from strength to strength in the U.K., now and into the future,” May said in the statement.

Ghosn, who also heads Nissan’s carmaking partner Renault SA, described the discussions as “productive,” though neither he nor May provided details.

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