Gillian Sayburn, partner at Begbies Traynor’s Newcastle upon Tyne office, said: “This is a drastic measure for Nissan. It seems to be the conclusion of several pieces of bad news with the accusations of financial crimes against its former chairman still lingering and its profits falling off a cliff. The automotive brand is clearly in distress.

“For workers in the UK there is a concern that they are in danger due to the deal that Japan had recently struck with the EU on trade, which means that tariffs on Japanese car exports to the EU will begin to taper towards zero over the next ten years. But the Sunderland plant is strong and its production line has proven to deliver time and time again in recent years.

“For Nissan, its workers and its investors, this is highly concerning news. However, if a company as big, and well known as Nissan is under pressure then the whole of the automotive sector will be concerned. It’s time to buckle up. In the next 12 months we could be in for a bumpy ride.”