U.K. Is Said to Plan Car-Battery Factory to Halt Autos Decline

Date: Mar 5, 2019

Britain aims to build an industry-leading car-battery factory to accelerate a push into electric vehicles, people with knowledge of the plan said, as Brexit and an over-exposure to diesel models hurts demand and jobs.

The plant would add to 246 million pounds ($325 million) of battery-related investment announced in July 2017, according to the people, who asked not to be named discussing unpublished plans. While one person said progress is being made, both cautioned against the suggestion that a decision is imminent.

A new plant would provide a much-needed boost for the British automotive industry as Brexit causes companies to review investment plans, a Chinese slowdown weighs on demand, and U.K. measures to cut pollution discourage sales of diesel models.

In the past two months alone, Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Plc announced it would cut 4,500 jobs, mostly in the U.K., Nissan Motor Co. scrapped plans to build the X-Trail sport utility vehicle in Sunderland, northeast England, and Honda Motor Co. said it will close its only British factory in 2021. Ford Motor Company has also warned of dire consequences for its U.K. sites in the event of a hard Brexit, and PSA is reviewing the future of its Vauxhall brand plants.

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