This statement from the boss of Nissan sums up the mess we’re in
PUBLISHED: 12:21 04 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:45 04 October 2018
Nissan has spoken out about the risk of a ‘no deal’ Brexit - but the company’s boss fears their warning won’t be heard.
The car manufacturer warned that a hard Brexit will have “serious implications” for the carmaker’s Sunderland factory.
It said in a statement: “As a sudden change from those rules to the rules of the WTO will have serious implications for British industry, we urge UK and EU negotiators to work collaboratively towards an orderly balanced Brexit that will continue to encourage mutually beneficial trade.
“Since 1986, the UK has been a production base for Nissan in Europe. Our British-based research and development and design teams support the development of products made in Sunderland, specifically for the European market.”
However comments from Carlos Ghosn, the company’s chief executive, was the most revealing when he spoke at the Paris Motor Show.
He said: “We are preparing for the worst, but I do not want to tell you how we are preparing because you will say I am trying to scare people.”
James O’Brien said this was the perfect example of the political climate we now find ourselves in.
“This is the closest to perfect that I’ve been able to find. That’s what our false notion of balance on Brexit coverage has done. That’s what the British media has done.
“It has essentially created an environment in which a massive employer decides it’s not even worth talking in public any more because he knows that when he has finished explaining how Nissan is doing, the BBC and other media outlets will turn to some absolute sugarpuff like Jacob Rees-Mogg or Nadine Dorries and ask them to offer up the ‘balanced’ position.
“So you end up creating the environment in which the chief executive of Nissan won’t even bother telling us what’s going on at Nissan because he knows that he’ll have some halfwit on the other side of the studio shouting ‘Project Fear’.
“Wow. And still, this won’t move the needle for anyone listening to this programme. That’s the head of Nissan, but you know better, right?”
The statement from Nissan comes as several multinational firms pull jobs and operations out of the UK, amid growing concern over the government’s protracted negotiations and a no-deal scenario.
Planemaker Airbus warned in June it could quit the UK if Britain leaves without a trade deal, while several banks have moved staff and trading units to the EU.
Japanese firms have been among the most vocal when expressing fears over Brexit, with Panasonic the latest to announce plans to shift its European headquarters out of the UK.
It is thought there are 879 Japanese companies employing 142,000 staff in Britain, including Honda and Nissan.