Nissan to cut UK jobs in efficiency drive as it reveals electric car ambition

Nissan plans to cut around 160 jobs under an efficiency drive in the wake of its decision to commit to post-Brexit UK.

The company announced that office-based roles were under threat but gave no further detail.

The Japanese carmaker made its move as it announced plans for an all-electric future in its key markets and just days after it ended speculation over the future of its sprawling Sunderland manufacturing plant by announcing new investment in battery production.

Since 2016 it had been one of the most vocal opponents within business to the notion that the UK should leave the European Union.

But it declared last week that the resulting trade deal with the bloc gave it a “competitive advantage” as the industry shifts away from traditionally-fuelled vehicles to electric cars.

The company blamed COVID-19 disruption rather than Brexit for supply chain problems that temporarily severed a production line last week.

Its UK manufacturing operation has not been immune to the effects of the pandemic with Sunderland joining other Nissan plants and those of rivals in lockdown-inspired outages.

Sunderland, which includes the Leaf electric car in its stable of products, made almost 350,000 vehicles in 2019.

Demand for cars globally has been hurt by the coronavirus crisis though electric vehicle sales are finding a new gear given a growing number of government deadlines to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel models in a bid to fight climate change.

A separate announcement by Nissan on Wednesday confirmed all of its new vehicle offerings in key markets would be electrified by the early 2030s, as part of its efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

The firm said the plan covered markets in Japan, China, the United States and Europe.

The weak sales environment has forced all businesses to seek ways to save money and await better times.

Nissan, as a group, has been cutting production and jobs in recent years as it invests in new greener technology.

Nissan said of the planned UK job cuts: “We continually adapt our business to maximise efficiency in line with market conditions and we are currently in consultation with some of our office based staff.”

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