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Although it also stressed that other future models planned for Nissan Sunderland plant - the next-generation Juke and Qashqai - remain unaffected. "The company has made a decision to optimise its investments in Europe by consolidating X-Trail production in Kyushu, the production hub for this global model", Nissan said on Sunday.

The leader of Sunderland City Council has called on the Government to do "everything in its power" to secure the future of the United Kingdom automotive industry, following the news that Nissan will be moving production of one of its new vehicles to Japan.

She said: "Of course Brexit was not the only reason but it was pretty prominent in Nissan's decision".

Nissan's X-Trail will not be built at the company's plant in England due to "uncertainties" surrounding Brexit.

Explaining Nissan's decision yesterday, Europe Chairman Gianluca de Ficchy said: "Nissan has increased its investments in new powertrains and technology for its future European vehicles".

Clark has now released the four-page letter sent to Nissan in 2016, promising "a package of support in areas such as skills, R&D and innovation" that "could amount to [.] up to £80m".

The letter was leaked after Nissan revealed that it was breaking its pledge to build the X-Trail SUV in the United Kingdom and switching production to Japan.

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"It will be a critical priority of our negotiation to support United Kingdom vehicle manufacturers and ensure that their ability to export to and from the European Union is not adversely affected by the U.K.'s future relationship with the EU".

"The letter, written in October 2016, shows Nissan and the UK Government's continued desire to support investment in the UK and maintain Sunderland as one of Nissan's manufacturing hubs in Europe", the company said on Monday.

"Its role in providing high skilled well paid jobs, innovative R&D and investment is why we are determined to build on these strengths to make the United Kingdom a leader in the next generation of autonomous and electric vehicles through the Automotive Sector Deal, as part of our modern Industrial Strategy".

Many Japanese companies had long seen Britain as the gateway into Europe, after being encouraged to open factories in the country by former prime minister Margaret Thatcher but Brexit has thrown that into doubt, prompting consternation in Tokyo.

Following the announcement, Clark said it would be "a blow to the (country's automotive) sector and the region".

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, expressed on Tuesday her commitment to Northern Ireland in favour of its plan to withdraw from the European Union (EU), a process known as Brexit.


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