Nissan has ruled out producing its new Ariya EV at its large production facility in Sunderland.
The UK plant, which produces key crossovers – such as the Qashqai and Juke – as well as the electric Leaf, seemed like a prime spot to produce the Ariya (unveiled today), given its expertise.
However, Nissan has ruled out producing this new EV alongside the Leaf in the UK, and it will instead be built in Japan at the Tochigi facility, which produces more premium Nissan and Infiniti models, along with the GT-R and 370Z sports cars.
Marco Fioravanti, vice president of product planning at Nissan Europe, said: “The Ariya is going to be produced in Japan, at the Tochigi plant, and it’s been totally changed and modernised in order to accept the new platform, which we’re launching with the Ariya.”
Nissan’s Sunderland facility employs around 7,000 people, and has recently had an uncertain future because of Brexit. The Japanese firm is holding off expanding the facility, which is the largest of its kind in the UK.
Fioravanti said: “Regarding Sunderland, it’s definitely one of our top priorities and it’s the heart of our European manufacturing facilities. At the moment we’re eagerly awaiting Brexit to give us the green light to expand it further.”
In June, Nissan confirmed 250 temporary jobs would go at the plant due to declining demand for new cars from the Covid-19 crisis, while it had a blow in 2019 when the Japanese firm said it would not produce the popular X-Trail SUV there as expected.
Back in May, Nissan announced it would shut its plant in Barcelona, at the expense of 2,800 jobs, though confirmed that its Sunderland operations were safe in the short-term.
The Ariya heralds a new era for Nissan – ushering in a bolder design direction for the firm. It will arrive in the UK in the second half of 2021, and offer a range of up to 310 miles.