PM assures Nissan that Leaf grant is safe

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Prime minister David Cameron told parliament today that a grant to support production of electric cars at Nissan’s Sunderland plant would go ahead.

‘That money will be going ahead, that investment will be going in,’ he told MPs during prime ministers questions.

Last week Cameron gave assurances of support for electric cars being manufactured in the UK, but he hesitated to say whether the £20.7m grant promised to Nissan by the Labour government would survive cuts aimed at reducing the country’s record budget deficit.

In March this year the Japanese car maker announced that it would begin production of the all-electric Nissan Leaf in Sunderland by early 2013 with an initial annual capacity of about 50,000 units.

The UK will be the third global production site for the vehicle. Production of Nissan LEAF will begin in Oppama, Japan later this year followed by Smyrna, Tennessee, US, in 2012.

According to Nissan, the sales launch of the model will begin in late 2010 in Japan, the US and selected European markets, before it is globally mass marketed from 2012.