Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover have demanded guarantees from the UK government over Brexit fears before they commit to future investment in the UK.
Nissan, which operates from Sunderland, wants compensation for any tax barriers it may incur as a result of leaving the EU with boss Carlos Ghosn saying it could not afford to “wait until the end of Brexit” for a deal.
Jaguar Land Rover’s Dr Ralf Speth responded to Ghosn’s comments stating his company would have to “realign its thinking” on investment should Nissan receive the compensation it is asking for as there should be a level playing field among manufacturers.
Speth added there had already been signs of a backlash in Europe following the referendum results, with some continental customers no longer wanting British cars, claiming Jaguar Land Rover had the most to lose if Brexit meant tariffs went up.
“We’re the only car manufacturer in the UK to do all the work in terms of research, design, engineering, production planning in the UK,” he said.
At present Nissan’s Sunderland factory makes up to 500,000 vehicles a year, representing around a third of Britain’s total car output.
Speaking at the Paris motor show, Ghosn said: “If I need to make an investment in the next few months and I can’t wait until the end of Brexit, then I have to make a deal with the UK government. You can have commitments of compensation in case you have something negative.
“If there are tax barriers being established on cars, you have to have a commitment for carmakers who export to Europe that there is some kind of compensation. if these kinds of principles are accepted we can go ahead because it will neutralise some of our concerns.”
Japanese car maker Toyota, which also has production facilities in the UK, has also raised concerns stating that possible duties as part of a Brexit deal would make running its Derbyshire plant “very, very tough”.