Nissan to source batteries from UK as part of Brexit deal ‘opportunity’ – EURACTIV.com

Nissan will buy more batteries from Britain to avoid tariffs on electric cars after the UK’s trade deal with the EU, which a senior executive says has turned Brexit from a risk into a risk opportunity for its factory in the North East of England.

Chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta also said Brexit-related issues at ports since Jan. 1 were “peanuts” for Nissan, which had to deal with COVID-19 and natural disasters.

After Britain left the European Union, London and Brussels reached a trade deal on December 24 that avoided major disruption and a 10% tax on cars, provided they adhere to local content rules.

Japan’s Nissan makes around 30,000 Leaf electric cars at its Sunderland plant, most with a locally sourced 40 kilowatt-hour battery. They remain duty free.

But more powerful versions use an imported system, which will now be bought in Britain, creating jobs.

“It will take a few months,” Gupta told Reuters.

“Brexit, which we thought was a risk…has become an opportunity for Nissan,” he added.

Asked about the business disruption, Gupta told reporters: “When I look at how Nissan came out of the crisis of (a) tsunami, earthquake, flood, last week’s snow, tornadoes…, the starting problem we see in the ports is peanuts.”

“For a global manufacturer… having extra paperwork to fill out a form at the border is nothing. People prepared for it, we updated our software, we updated our processes. Its good.”

The effect of Brexit will vary from car manufacturer to car manufacturer.

Nissan opened what is now Britain’s largest car factory in 1986 and manufactured nearly 350,000 vehicles there in 2019.

By contrast, Ford, which imports everything it sells in Britain, has raised some prices in the UK due to US-sourced content.

With no electric car production in the UK, Stellantis chief executive Carlos Tavares has criticized Britain’s ban on the sale of new conventional cars from 2030 as he decides the future of his factory.

But Gupta said the move would boost Nissan’s UK models.

“The market will pull more and more electrified cars, which means the return on investment for these kinds of technologies will get better and better day by day.”

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