Japanese carmaker Nissan has warned that a no-deal Brexit would make its European business model unsustainable.
The firm’s chairman, Gianluca de Ficchy, said if a 10% export tariff was introduced after the UK left the EU it would put its operations in “jeopardy”.
This would be case if the UK moved to World Trade Organization (WTO) after Brexit, he said.
He was speaking at Nissan’s plant in Sunderland, where work on a new model of the Juke is due to start.
The Japanese firm said it had invested £100m in the plant, which also makes the Qashqai and electric Leaf models.
Mr de Ficchy said Nissan still intended to build in Sunderland, the UK’s biggest car plant, but that it was difficult to plan for the future amid Brexit uncertainty.
The new Juke has been designed and manufactured in the UK, aimed specifically at European markets, with two-thirds of its components coming from the EU and 70% of production destined for the continent.
“If a no-deal scenario means the sudden application of WTO tariffs, we know in that case our business model won’t be sustainable in the future,” said Mr de Ficchy.
“Our industry works with lower margins and if we are in a situation in which tomorrow we have to apply 10% export duties to 70% of our production, the entire business model for Nissan Europe will be in jeopardy.
“That’s the reason why we continue to work with all scenarios.”