When asked about remarks by the chief executive of Nissan, who said on Thursday he would halt new investment in Britain without a pledge of compensation for tariffs imposed on UK-built cars in the event of a hard Brexit, Speth said: “We are the only auto manufacturer in the United Kingdom to do all the work in terms of research, design, engineering, production planning in the UK”.
“I’m going to have to make a deal with the United Kingdom government”, he said, adding that he would be looking for compensation if his company’s tax regime became less favourable or cross-border duties had to be paid once Britain left the European Union.
The Sunderland plant has been a powerhouse for Nissan over the years. The site produces Nissan’s Qashqai, Note, Juke and Leaf models.
Nissan has said it wants Britain to pledge compensation for any extra taxes resulting from its decision to leave the European Union, or they could scrap potential new investment.
“If 85 percent has to pay trade duties it will be very, very tough but we want to stay committed to the United Kingdom business and our factory in the United Kingdom”, he said.
“The challenge for all of us in the United Kingdom is to stay competitive because 85 percent of our production from the United Kingdom plant is exported to continental Europe”, Didier Leroy said.
If Britain failed to conclude a free trade deal with the rest of the European Union and was forced to fall back on basic World Trade Organisation rules, British vehicle exporters could face tariffs of up to 10 per cent. He said: “We like our presence in the UK”.
But the next line of cars could be built at other plants across the EU.
“Then what we need is free trade”, Jean Marc Streng, Honda’s general manager for Europe, told the BBC. “That’s what we have said to the British government”.