Fleet News

Fleets urged to fly UK flag

NISSAN president Carlos Ghosn is bidding for stronger ties with the fleet market by encouraging it to buy British following his announcement that the new Micra will be built at Sunderland. Ghosn told Fleet NewsNet: 'The decision to keep the Micra in the UK can only reinforce Nissan's already strong relationship with fleet buyers, especially those who prefer to buy British.

'In a climate where some of the main manufacturers are retrenching, Nissan has wholeheartedly confirmed its commitment to the car industry in the UK by investing another £235 million in Sunderland on top of the £1.5 billion spend on the plant since 1984.' He added that although the UK remaining outside the Euro was affecting profits, the company would reduce its cost base by sourcing components from suppliers within the Euro-zone.

It had been feared that Nissan would switch production of the Micra to Renault's Flins plant in France. But Sunderland's future looked brighter following EU approval of a £40m Government grant, and an agreement from unions to increase productivity. Ghosn said: 'We made the decision based on profitability analysis. It relied on three elements. First our belief that the UK will again provide a place where we can build cars competitively.

'We believe it can offer a favourable business environment with a stable exchange rate. Second, the £40million regional selective assistance, which swayed the balance. Third, the record of our Sunderland plant, where we have invested £1.5 billion, in delivering superior quality and committing to a 30% cost reduction through 2003.' Production of the new Micra will begin in 2002.

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