Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Nissan Motor Co. on Sunday confirmed the automaker will move production of the new X-Trail SUV planned for a plant in Britain instead to Japan, citing continued Brexit uncertainty.
Nissan, which has made vehicles at its Sunderland since 1986 and employs about 6,700, in 2016 announced plans to build the cars for the European market at its plant there. Its is Britain's largest car factory.
"We can reduce our upfront investment costs" by consolidating X-Trail production in Kyushu, the production hub for this global model, Nissan Europe Chairman Gianluca de Ficchy said in a statement.
But he said: "While we have taken this decision for business reasons, the continued uncertainty around the UK's future relationship with the EU is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future."
Other carmakers, including Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota and Vauxhall, have expressed fears of disruption to their supply chains in the event of a no Brexit deal of Britain leaving the European Union, the BBC reported. And Nissan is part-owned by France's Renault, which could move production to France in the future to avoid any post-Brexit EU tariffs.
Other future models planned for Nissan Sunderland Plant are unaffected, including next-generation Juke and Qashqai.
The Qashqai, which is the best-selling crossover vehicle in Europe, makes up the majority of the current work at Sunderland.
Current production in Sunderland also includes the Nissan LEAF, which is Europe's best-selling electric car.
"Nissan is investing heavily in new technologies and powertrains for the next generation of vehicles in our Sunderland plant," de Ficchy said. "Our workforce in Sunderland has our full confidence, and will continue to benefit from the investment planned for Juke and Qashqai."
Bridget Phillipson, the labor minister for Houghton and Sunderland South, commented before the move was confirmed. "If confirmed, this would represent deeply troubling news for the northeast economy," he told The Guardian. "So many jobs and livelihoods depend on Nissan's success."
In 2016, Sunderland voted overwhelmingly to leave the European Union.