LONDON (Bloomberg) -- Nissan and Daimler have joined Ford in supporting Prime Minister David Cameron's bid to keep the UK inside the European Union.
"Our preference as a business is, of course, that the UK stays within Europe -- it makes the most sense for jobs, trade and costs," Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said in a statement on Tuesday. "For us, a position of stability is more positive than a collection of unknowns."
Ghosn said Nissan remains committed to its existing investment decisions in the UK where the Japanese automaker has a large factory in northeast England that builds Nissan and Infiniti cars.
He said: "We obviously want the Nissan UK plant and engineering center to remain as competitive as possible when compared with other global entities, and each future investment opportunity will be taken on a case by case basis, just as it is now."
Ford Motor CEO Mark Fields told Bloomberg Television on Monday that the U.S. automaker believes it is really important for the UK to be part of a single market and that having the UK as part of a reformed EU "is in the best interest of the UK."
Bodo Uebber, Daimler's chief financial officer, told reporters in New York that he was "in favor of the European ideal and the bigger it is, the better."
Foreign automakers have an interest in the debate over the both because of the UK's consumer base and also the country's access to the 28-nation bloc's single market, which means many have plants there.
"We make more cars now in the northeast of England than in the whole of Italy because of the great success of Nissan," Prime Minister David Cameron said in a speech today, adding the company's view "is worth listening to."
Britons will vote on June 23 whether the country should stay in the EU or quit - a so-called Brexit.
Nissan said it directly employs 8,000 people in the UK and a further 32,000 through dealerships and its supply chain. It produced 475,000 vehicles in UK last year, exporting 80 percent of them.
Mike Hawes, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said last month that the UK's upcoming referendum on EU membership could have an effect on the market's future growth. "Europe is our biggest trading partner and the UK's membership of the European Union is vital for the automotive sector in order to secure future growth and jobs," he said.
Exports to EU markets accounted for 58 percent of UK auto production last year and car exports to the EU from the UK rose 11 percent.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this report