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Brexit: Nissan commits to keep making cars in Sunderland

Japanese car maker Nissan has told the BBC its Sunderland plant is secure for the long term as a result of the trade deal reached between the UK and the EU.

It said it will move additional battery production close to the plant where it has 6,000 direct employees and supports nearly 70,000 jobs in the supply chain.

Currently, the batteries in its Leaf electric cars are imported from Japan.

Nissan would not confirm if this would mean additional jobs at Sunderland, which is the UK's largest car plant.

Manufacturing the more powerful batteries in the UK will ensure its cars comply with trade rules agreed with the EU requiring at least 55% of the car's value to be derived from either the UK or the EU to qualify for zero tariffs when exported to the EU.

Some 70% of the cars made in Sunderland are exported and the vast majority of them are sold in the EU.

Nissan had issued stark warnings last year that if the UK left the EU without a trade deal, the resulting tariffs on cars and components would make the Sunderland plant "unsustainable".

Nissan's chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta told the BBC: "The Brexit deal is positive for Nissan. Being the largest automaker in the UK we are taking this opportunity to redefine auto-making in the UK.

"It has created a competitive environment for Sunderland, not just inside the UK but outside as well. We've decided to localise the manufacture of the 62kWh battery in Sunderland so that all our products qualify [for tariff-free export to the EU]. We are committed to Sunderland for the long term under the business conditions that have been agreed."