Nissan will be shutting down production of two luxury Infiniti models at the U.K.’s biggest auto manufacturing plant within months, it announced Wednesday.
About 200 tradespeople will be affected at the factory in the northern city of Sunderland, The Times reports, where 12,000 Infinitis were built last year. Nissan employs 7,000 people in the U.K., and the 442,000 vehicles produced at Sunderland in 2018 accounted for nearly 30% of the entire country’s production.
The automaker said it was moving production of the Infiniti Q30 and QX30 to Japan because sales of the model are stronger there. In a statement, Nissan confirmed it was focusing on sales in North America and China and would withdraw the brand from Western Europe in 2020.
Yet the shadow of Brexit looms ominously: Back in February, Nissan also abandoned its plans to produce its X-Trail SUV at Sunderland.
“We appreciate this will be disappointing for our U.K. team and partners,” Nissan Europe Chairman Gianluca de Ficchy said at the time. “While we have taken this decision for business reasons, the continued uncertainty around the U.K.’s future relationship with the EU is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future.”
Nissan is not alone, however. Honda (HMC) announced in February that it would wind down U.K. production by the end of 2021 — although the firm insisted that Brexit was not the cause. Toyota also said this month that it would not be able to build cars in the U.K. in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Despite neverending back-and-forth among lawmakers, the U.K. still has no agreed plan for what will happen on March 29.
The headline of this story has been updated to correct a misspelling of Infiniti.