|Finally the new Juke|
Japanese car makers have long been export oriented, pushing into all parts of the globe. One market they have not been as successful is Europe. They did better when they first arrived and showed innovative spirit. However, success led to a more conservative product and in Europe it didn't go down well.
The first plants built in Europe were in the UK, and they are still there. The EU's going to zero tariffs with Japan and the difficulty in being profitable in the region has caused these car makers to reconsider their position. Let's look at each of them.
Nissan: Sales are falling and the sizable operation in Sunderland needs volume to make it worthwhile. I have no idea what the company's plans are and I suspect they haven't decided either. A slight drop of 2% in 2017 have been followed up with an 11% decrease in 2018. The Qashqai could do with a hybrid option and the popular Juke is finally being replaced. The Leaf went well in 2018 but the Infinti Q30/QX30 has been axed.
Honda: Europe is a challenge for the company as they resist chasing sales with lean margins. They have decided that is more cost effective to move production to other plants that are closer to where they sell more cars. It makes sense but it's not a decision I thought they would make. The Civic became a global export model for Honda UK but too few were sold in Europe.
Toyota: The Auris (now Corolla again) is the mainstay of the operation. The hybrid version is consistently made at about 85,000 units per year and that constitutes the majority of the output. Toyota has recently spent good money upgrading the plant to manufacture the new Corolla. The Avensis is all but dead and late in 2020 Toyota will start making hybrid cars for Suzuki at the plant.