Nissan: tough to stay in UK without Brexit deal

Nissan warned Britain that its UK operations are at stake as the country tries to strike a trade deal with the European Union.

The Japanese carmaker said Wednesday (November 18) it did not want to see a final deal that leads to higher tariffs and worsens business conditions.

Nissan Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta said if the transition period ends without a sustainable business case - the company's UK business itself will not be sustainable.

Nissan is a major employer in the UK, with 7,000 people working at the country's biggest auto plant in Sunderland, in north-east England.

Now Gupta's warning comes as the EU told Britain it has fewer than 10 days left to secure a deal that will govern trade from next year.

In March, Nissan said it would push ahead with a 69 million dollar expansion at Sunderland to build a new sports utility vehicle.

When it first announced the plan in 2016, Nissan said Britain had reassured the automaker that Brexit would not affect its competitiveness.

But if there is no deal between the EU and Britain on trade it could result in tariffs and raise costs for Nissan.

Production could also be slowed down by any delay in parts supplied from overseas due to new customs checks.

There had been media reports that both Nissan and Toyota would sue the UK for costs incurred by a no-deal Brexit.

Gupta denied this on Wednesday, however.

But Brexit has proven a sensitive topic for Japanese automakers.

Honda said last year it would close its only plant in Britain because of the decision to leave the EU.

That saw a loss of up to 3,500 jobs.