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May's Brexit plan, outlined last week, won't derail Nissan's commitment to build new versions of its Qashqai and X-Trail sport utility vehicles at its factory in Sunderland, England, Chairman Carlos Ghosn said. Toyota plans to keep its car- and engine-building plants in the U.K. and may take steps to increase their competitiveness if leaving the European Union raises costs, Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada said.
“We can survive this,” Uchiyamada said in an interview with Bloomberg Television at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “In every country in the world, we don’t tend to close or move factories when things like this happen and it will be the same in the U.K.”
Toyota and Nissan, along with Japanese rival Honda Motor Co., have led a revival in U.K. car manufacturing, relying on EU membership to export cars to other countries in the bloc without tariffs. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders lobby group has warned quitting the single market abruptly and reverting to tariffs under World Trade Organization rules threatens the industry's viability.
Until recently, May’s Brexit plans were shrouded in uncertainty, with auto executives and other business leaders hoping she’d opt for a softer version of Brexit in which the U.K. maintained membership in the single market and the European customs union, which eases cross-border movement of parts and materials for manufacturers.
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