Nissan has confirmed that the new X-Trail originally planned for its Sunderland plant will instead be made in Japan.

In a letter to workers, it says continued Brexit uncertainty is not helping firms to “plan for the future”.

In 2016 the carmaker said it would build the new car in the UK after “assurances” from the government.

Unions described the news as “disappointing” and said they were “seriously concerned”.

Nissan has made cars at Sunderland since 1986 and employs almost 7,000 people.

Cost reduction

Nissan said it had decided to “optimise its investments in Europe” by consolidating X-Trail production in Kyushu, which was the production hub for the model.

The firm’s Europe chairman, Gianluca de Ficchy, said: “Nissan is investing heavily in new technologies and powertrains for the next generation of vehicles in our Sunderland plant.

“To support this, we are taking advantage of our global assets, and with X-Trail already manufactured in Japan, we can reduce our upfront investment costs.”

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