March 6, 2021

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Nissan is trying a new beginning in Europe

Dசsseldorf Nissan There was a brutal accident. The Japanese automaker has already lost 20 percent of its sales in Europe in 2019, and added another 25 percent in the 2020 Corona year. Of the nearly 500,000 new cars sold in 2018, fewer than 300,000 remained at the end of last year.

Nissan wants to end this bloodshed. The electrification of new models and product portfolios should contribute primarily to this. “The trend on electromobility can no longer be stopped,” Nissan said in an interview with European boss Gianluca de Ficci Handelsplot: “Electrification in Europe is very fast.”

At Nissan, it is now clear that production can continue at the Sunderland plant. This is confirmed by the trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Great Britain, which ended on time earlier this year. “Now we have clear rules so we can continue to produce,” explains European employer De Ficci.

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Nissan certainly wanted to continue production in Great Britain: “Sunderland is one of the most efficient factories in the world.” Without a last-minute contract, the manufacturer would be facing real problems. “Without a solution, Nissan’s stability in Europe can no longer be guaranteed,” De Ficci said.

At the factory there, preparations for the start of production of the most important British-made model were as good as they were completed last year. “The decision to produce the third generation of Kashkai in Sunderland was not made in 2020, but many years ago,” de Fitch insists.

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Nissan has invested accordingly in the production phase for the new Kashkai product. Moving the production of the model to another factory would have been an “impossible task”. As a result of the agreement, cashew production in Sunderland became economically feasible. That is not possible with tariffs between the European continent and the British Isles.

There is confidence in the new electric drive

However, a car manufacturer such as Nissan may be subject to customs duty if it purchases parts from third countries. Upon completion of Brexit, the new rules require cars manufactured in Great Britain to have a certain amount of local value added (“local content”).

Nissan has relatively few issues with these specifications. “We don’t have to change our supply streams. Most suppliers are based in Great Britain or the continent,” explains De Ficci.

However, there is one exception. Nissan also makes a complete electric leaf model in Sunderland. Nissan had previously obtained some of the batteries required for this from the United States. These deliveries are now discontinued because the automaker will have to pay customs duties for them. In the future, all leaf batteries will be manufactured in Great Britain, where Nissan and a Chinese partner will produce batteries.

If more electric models are made in Sunderland in the future, Nissan may also expand battery production in the United Kingdom. Decisions not made: “We still need to look at further localizing battery production,” says De Ficci.

With the new Kashkai in particular, Nissan needs to prove that the breakthrough will succeed in Europe. That car V.W. Tiguan and The Ford As a competitor the Kuga is initially available in two-part electric versions with a combustion engine.

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Nissan expects specific success with the so-called “e-Power” drive, which the team successfully introduced in Japan some time ago, and is now being used in Kashmir for the first time. E-power is the definition of a hybrid drive – wireless.

A petrol engine is used exclusively to produce electricity: it charges a battery, which drives an electric motor. This electric motor is only responsible for driving the wheels. This means that the petrol engine can always run at its optimum speed range, which has advantages in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to conventional combustion engines. Kashkai with e-Power has the driving behavior of an electric car, which is observed by strong acceleration.

Alliance with Renault Still difficult

Not only in Europe, but all over the world, Nissan has imposed a radical restructuring plan. Worldwide, the Japanese carmaker is cutting its own production capacity by a fifth. Europe is also affected: a van plant in Barcelona is due to close later this year.

With twelve new models worldwide, Nissan wants to turn things around. “These new cars are important,” says Bloomberg researcher Tatsuo Yoshida. A trend reversal is thus possible. However, the current situation is difficult. Overall, Nissan made a small profit again in the last quarter of last year. Throughout the full 2020/21 fiscal year (until March 31), the Group continues to calculate losses in the billions.

The alliance with the French Renault Group is not yet a successful driver. Frank Swoop, automotive analyst at Nord LP in Hanover, said: “This alliance is even more difficult. After all, Nissan has decided to manufacture lighter commercial vehicles at its Renault plant in France in the future.

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Further: Electromomility is coming faster than expected.