A decision by Nissan on whether its next-generation small car is to built in the UK is to be made by the end of the year, reports the UK`s Financial Times (1/8/00).

Renewed warnings by Nissan President Carlos Ghosn about currency instability may force the company to move its production of its Micra replacement, scheduled to commence in 2003, from its Sunderland plant in the north-east of England to continental Europe.

Regional selective assistance said to be worth up to £50m ($75m) is reported to be on offer to safeguard the 5,000 workers employed there, although an official would not comment on this figure.

A 30 per cent cost-cut in its Sunderland operations is demanded by Nissan to offset the strength of the pound says the report, with Nissan officials saying that a shift in sourcing components from UK suppliers to Europe is inevitable.

Both currency concerns and the UK Government cash injection were said to be the discussed at Monday`s face-to-face meeting (31/7/00) between UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and Nissan`s President.