Car giants Nissan may have to “adjust” its business in the UK depending on the outcome of Brexit.
Senior vice-president Colin Lawther has told MPs that Nissan will “constantly review” its decision in the light of any material changes to its ability to trade with the remaining EU.
Mr Lawther later warned it would be a “complete disaster” if parts due to be delivered to its Sunderland plant were disrupted by customs checks due to the UK leaving the European Customs Union.
The smooth delivery of five-million parts every day is crucial to business, with many parts entering the UK through ports such as Folkestone and is vital to the operation of Sunderland production lines.
Delays totalling as little as six minutes a day would be a disaster for competitiveness. Any disruption to the supply chain could cause the company not to have free flow of parts, which in turn could have damning effects to the business.
When giving evidence to the House of Commons International Trade Committee, Mr Lawther said that Nissan’s preferred outcome from Brexit negotiations was for Britain’s relations with the EU to “stay the same,” with a continued membership of the single market.
A move to World Trade Organisation tariffs would potentially change the business circumstances for Nissan.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal and had to revert to World Trade Organisation tariffs, Nissan: “would have to look at the degrees of change and adjust our business to take into account whether this new trading platform would be”, said Colin Lawther.
He went on to say that the decision to expand in Sunderland was based on “a set of circumstances” at the point in time.
“As those circumstances change, and we wouldn’t wait until the end of the process, we will continually review the decisions that we take, based on anything that materially changes,” he told MPs.
“At the moment we have got a set of circumstances we are happy with and we will honour that decision going forward.”
A Downing Street spokesman said: “We have been pretty clear all along that what we want is to secure a deal that allows there to be an environment for Nissan and other companies in the automotive sectors to flourish.”