Hit or Miss? Nissan boss warns UK over European Union exit

The chief executive of car maker Nissan entered the debate over Britain's role in Europe in an interview with the BBC yesterday.

Carlos Ghosn: also chief executive of Nissan's sister company Renault
Carlos Ghosn: also chief executive of Nissan's sister company Renault

Speaking at Nissan’s plant in Sunderland, Carlos Ghosn was asked how the company would react if the UK were to leave the EU.

"If anything has to change, we [would] need to reconsider our strategy and our investments for the future."

How I See It

James Bethell, founder, Westbourne Communications

The intervention created a mini-splash on the BBC just as MPs vote on the Third Reading of James Wharton's Private Members' Bill on the EU referendum.

Every boardroom in Britain is weighting whether to get involved in the bitter debate between EU enthusiasts and sceptics in advance of the EU referendum in 2017.

The stakes are high – the arguments over renegotiation or withdrawal rest heavily on the hard-fought arguments about the net economic dividends for UK plc of EU membership.

Despite the Nissan boss’s hedged corporate-speak about "reconsidering options", support from one of the most revered and credible manufacturers in Britain’s economy will have had Euro-enthusiasts like Roland Rudd high-fiving and can-canning.

Nissan’s Sunderland plant, employing 6,500 notoriously hard-working Geordies, is a potent symbol of how British workers can be winners in the global race.

The sceptics need to think about how they explain that renegotiation or withdrawal will not lead to closure of plants such as Nissan’s, and that manufacturers such as Mercedes and BMW regard Britain as one of their biggest export markets.

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