The British Government has been right to back Nissan in the North East, says leading automotive economist Prof Garel Rhys.
The massive car plant at Sunderland employs about 6,700 people but the “multiplier” effect through the supplier chain of component makers and related businesses almost exclusively dependent on the plant mean they pay about 33,000 people.
“Whatever is said about the deal which has been supported by HM Government is it simple fact that Nissan is a special case in the automotive sector and if it pulled out of the area it would be disastrous,” he said.
“If these sort of figures were extrapolated through the UK per head of population it would mean 675,000 jobs would go from the country, that’s the size of the effect in proportion to the North East and its 2.5 Million people.”
UK car manufacturing reported steady growth in September, with production rising by 0.9%, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
Exports rose 5.0% to reach 123,119 units, offsetting a -10.6% decline in production for the home market.
Overall year-to-date output increased 10.5% to 1,292,453 units, as production for global markets grew for a 14th consecutive month. Export demand rose by 10.5% to take volumes past one million in the first three quarters for the first time on record.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “British-built cars are in demand across the world as demonstrated by the double digit growth in exports this year, resulting in more than a million cars produced for international markets.
“The vast majority of cars manufactured here in the UK are destined for abroad and future growth will depend on securing our international competitiveness and the barrier-free access to major global markets that has enabled UK Automotive to thrive.”
Toyota will keep producing models in Britain after the split from European Union, executive vice president Didier Leroy has told reporters.
He said it is understood the UK Government will offer a deal to companies exporting British built models if they are hit by high EU tariffs.