UK – The Japanese automaker Nissan is set to infuse £1.12 billion (US$1.4 billion) into its British plant, a move aimed at crafting electric versions of two models.

This initiative serves as a notable boost to the UK’s automotive sector and aligns with the UK Prime Minister’s fervent pursuit of foreign investments.

Nissan unveiled plans to electrify its Qashqai and Juke models, to be manufactured in Sunderland, northeast England.

This endeavor entails an overall investment totaling up to £2 billion (US$2.5 billion), encompassing the establishment of a third battery plant in Britain and infrastructure enhancements financed through collaborative efforts with partners.

Anticipated UK government backing solidifies support for this project. The renowned automaker has a longstanding history of producing its electric Leaf model in Sunderland, a legacy set to continue with batteries sourced from an existing facility on-site.

In 2021, Nissan earmarked a US$1.4 billion investment toward erecting a second 9 gigawatt-hour (GWh) battery plant in Sunderland in collaboration with Chinese partner Envision AESC.

This landmark announcement arrives just before Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Global Investment Summit, aimed at reigniting foreign corporate interest, which somewhat waned after the 2016 Brexit vote.

Sunak, underscoring the UK’s business-friendly environment, affirmed, “Making the UK the best place to do business is at the heart of our economic plan.”

While Nissan refrained from discussing the specifics of subsidies or assurances provided by Britain, Alan Johnson, Nissan’s senior vice president for manufacturing and supply chain, highlighted the ongoing discussions with the government.

Next week’s summit will see Sunak hosting Nissan President and CEO Makoto Uchida. Nissan’s significant investment stands to bolster employment for 7,000 workers in Sunderland and support a supply chain involving 30,000 individuals, reinforcing its presence in Britain since 1986.

Despite the uncertainties post-Brexit, Nissan’s confidence in Britain as a pivotal hub was evident in its 2021 battery investment. Sunak’s efforts appear fruitful in reviving investor interest, evident in Nissan’s substantial commitment.

This recent deal echoes Tata Motors’ announcement of a £4 billion (US$5 billion) investment in a UK electric vehicle battery plant catering to Jaguar Land Rover factories.

However, industry pundits stress the need for increased EV battery production capacity to sustain and expand the automotive sector.

Nissan’s future plans align with the direction of offering solely fully electric cars in Europe by 2030, with details on the new EV models and production schedules to follow.

Interestingly, Nissan’s renewed investment in the UK contrasts with Sunak’s September decision to postpone the ban on new petrol car sales by five years.

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