In order to stop producing cylinder heads for Renault engines, Nissan has said it will close a portion of its Sunderland facility, but it “does not expect this to result in job losses.”

Following the end of production in 2024, the 250 employees will be relocated to other areas of the factory. This move is in line with plans for the relocation of 400 employees when the Infiniti Powertrain Plant in Tennessee, which was created through a partnership between Mercedes-Benz and Nissan, closes in 2023.

The auto manufacturer has informed Autocar that plans addressing specific personnel reassignments at Sunderland as well as the future of the cylinder head facility have not yet been developed.

In a statement, Nissan said: “Nissan Sunderland Plant will stop producing cylinder heads locally as of early 2024.

We are working with the staff to reassign them to other areas of the company and do not anticipate job losses as a result.

Nissan is anticipated to follow Ford’s lead in regards to the cylinder head plant: the American company fully took over its Halewood gearbox plant (previously shared 50:50 with Magna PT) in March 2021, protecting 600 Magna jobs, and declared in October 2021 that it will switch to producing electric powertrains by 2024.

It is expected that the cylinder head section will be converted into EV parts given Nissan’s ongoing EV36Zero effort, which aims to prepare Sunderland for manufacture of a new electric SUV and batteries for 100,000 electric cars each year.

Nissan is anticipated to give priority to keeping the 250 workers at the cylinder head facility due to the industry-wide skills gap.

According to Lynda Ennis, a human resources specialist, “companies are genuinely struggling to capitalise on the potential that new technology is providing” since there aren’t enough skilled individuals available.

The industry seems to be caught in a perfect storm of technological change driving the need for new skills at all levels of seniority, set against a contracting labor market, post-Brexit restrictions on free movement, and fierce competition for sought-after skills from new mobility disruptors and other sectors fishing in the same talent pools, according to Ennis.

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