Nissan CEO Warns the UK: Leave EU and We Will Reconsider Investments

It looks like all the talk about organizing a referendum in the UK on EU membership is bad for business. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said the Japanese carmaker would reconsider its investment in the UK if the country decides to leave the European Union.

Prime Minister David Cameron has promised a public vote on EU membership in 2017 should the Conservatives win the next general election in 2015. Speaking in Sunderland, where Nissan employs 6,500 people, Carlos Ghosn didn’t seem delighted at all with that prospect.

Asked by the BBC how Nissan would react if the UK were to leave the EU, the executive replied:

“If anything has to change, we need to reconsider our strategy and our investments for the future. Personally I don’t think this is a most probable scenario, but if this scenario becomes real it’s obviously going to be a major factor and we will need to consider what this means for us in the future.”

This was not the first time that Carlos Ghosn has made a direct connection between Nissan’s UK investment and the country’s EU membership. In October 2002, he said that the Sunderland plant’s future would depend on whether the UK adopted the euro. However, the UK hasn’t given up on the pound and Nissan’s Sunderland plant remains one of the most productive in Europe.

Ghosn was in Sunderland for the launch of the all-new Nissan Qashqai, which will be built there. The Qashqai is Nissan’s best-selling car in Europe, racking up more than 240,000 sales last year. The crossover accounts for more than half the output of the Sunderland factory.

By Dan Mihalascu


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