Carmaker Nissan says vehicle production has been suspended at its Sunderland plant due to a sudden drop in market demand.
The Japanese manufacturer said it has halted production at the UK factory due to a supply chain disruption linked to the coronavirus outbreak.
It comes just weeks after the company announced a £400million investment in the factory as part of plans to push through its latest Qashqai sports model.
The car giant said in a statement: "Vehicle production has been suspended today in Nissan Sunderland plant.
"Further measures are currently under study as we assess supply chain disruption and the sudden drop in market demand caused by the Covid-19 emergency."
The Sunderland site is Britain's biggest car plant and built nearly 350,000 vehicles in 2019 – it employs almost 7,000 workers.
Nissan follows other car makers in shutting down production, including Vauxhall, Peugeot and Renault.
On Monday, Fiat, Peugeot and Volkswagen cut production at their European plants as the coronavirus crisis combined with plunging demand.
Vauxhall plants at Ellesmere Port and Luton are now on the list to be closed, after owner PSA reacted to the increase in cases of the virus.
PSA said its decision to stop production was thanks to "the acceleration observed in recent days of serious COVID-19 cases close to certain production sites, supply disruptions from major suppliers, as well as the sudden decline in the automobile markets".
Production at Ellesmere Port will close on Tuesday, 17 March, with Luton being halted on Thursday, 19 March.
"The site management teams will implement the site closure procedures locally, which will be done in coordination with the social partners," PSA said in a statement.
Production is currently scheduled to begin again on March 27.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is also halting production for two weeks at most of its European plants to help protect staff and adjust to a slump in demand, the Italian-American carmaker said.
Last week, some Spanish plants of the Renault-Nissan alliance and Volkswagen's Spanish division Seat announced temporary stoppages that could last for days or weeks.
Volkswagen also said on Sunday it was preparing to suspend operations at its plant in Bratislava after Slovakia declared a state of emergency in response to the virus.
Source: Read Full Article