(Bloomberg) -- Nissan Motor Co. is sticking with its plan to produce only electric vehicles in Europe by 2030 even after UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delayed phasing out the sale of new fossil-fuel powered cars.
“There is no turning back now,” Chief Executive Officer Makoto Uchida said Monday at an event in London. “We believe it is the right thing to do for our business, our customers and for the planet.”
The UK Prime Minister last week pushed back a planned ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by five years to 2035 as the nation struggles to protect its auto industry from fierce competition. The move attracted criticism from Ford Motor Co., which said the transition to EVs would suffer as a result of the decision.
Nissan plans to launch 27 electrified vehicles, including 19 fully electric cars, by 2030. The Japanese company operates the UK’s biggest auto plant, in Sunderland.
Competition is growing across Europe as Chinese EV makers like BYD, Nio, Zeekr and Great Wall roll out new models. This month, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen launched a probe into China’s financial support for the industry.
“China has moved much, much faster than we expected,” Uchida said.
Nissan could ramp up production at Sunderland if the UK government signs more trade agreements, according to Guillaume Cartier, Nissan’s chair for Africa, Middle East, India, Europe and Oceania.
The company would be able to export more cars to countries outside of the UK and Europe if such deals were in place, he said, and the company could more than double production from the 238,000 cars that were produced at Sunderland in 2022.
Uchida added: “If the market and industry cannot be competitive, how can we think about future investment?”
(Updates with comments on trade agreements in last two paragraphs)
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