Nissan claims Brexit gave it competitive edge on car battery tariffs

Nissan claimed on Friday that Brexit had given the carmaker an edge because now it would purchase more batteries within the UK in order to avoid tariffs.

The Japanese carmaker, which is the owner of the UK’s largest car factory in Sunderland, also said it would push ahead with the new Qashqai model this year. The model was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ashwani Gupta, Nissan’s chief operating officer, said: “Brexit gives us the competitive advantage not only within the United Kingdom but outside the United Kingdom also.”

The carmaker said it had benefited from the UK’s exit from the EU because it is not reliant on batteries imported from east Asia.

From 2027, all British and European carmakers will have to source batteries from either the UK or EU, as agreed in the Brexit deal, or face tariffs on their exports.

This marks a significant u-turn for Nissan, which until very recently was one of the harshest critics of Brexit and the disruption to the car industry that it may cause.

It came as the last-minute Brexit deal agreed on Christmas Eve ensured that most car exports between the UK and the EU would remain free of tariffs.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that Nissan’s decision to source batteries from Britain to avoid tariffs was a great vote of confidence.

“This is a great vote of confidence in the UK and fantastic news for the brilliant Nissan workforce in Sunderland and electric vehicle manufacturing in this country.”

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