LONDON -- Nissan may build the Renault Kadjar and Captur SUVs at its plant in Sunderland, England, the Financial Times reported, citing sources close to the discussions between the alliance partners.
The plant has the capacity to produce the SUVs because they share the same underpinnings as the Nissan Qashqai and Juke, which are built in Sunderland.
The move would be part of an exchange of vehicle production between the two automakers, the Financial Times said.
Under the changes being discussed, Nissan would close its Barcelona plant that builds vans and pickups, according to the paper. Production of the Navara pickup would move to South Africa, while a replacement for the electric e-NV200 van would be built at Renault’s plant in Maubeuge, France.
Renault currently builds the Kadjar in Palencia and the Captur in Valladolid, both in Spain.
Nissan intends to close the Barcelona factory as part of plans to reduce its global capacity by 20 percent, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Thursday. A Nissan Spain spokesman said union leaders at the plant will informed about the factory's future before summer.
Nissan is planning $2.8 billion in cost cuts and the scrapping of its Datsun brand as part of a three-year turnaround plan that will be unveiled on May 28, according to reports.
The automaker's turnaround plan will focus on salvaging profitability in the U.S. and "stopping the bleeding" in Europe, a Nissan source in Japan told Reuters.
A key pillar will be to consolidate production, procurement and development with Renault in Europe. "My view is that we will be left with more integration of Sunderland into the general European industrial scheme," the source said, while acknowledging such moves would hinge on Brexit trade pacts.
The long-term future of the Sunderland plant, Britain's largest car factory, has been threatened by the UK's exit from the European Union. If tariffs are imposed between the UK and mainland Europe, the factory's output could become uneconomic.
One option for the plant's future would be to focus production of Nissan and Renault vehicles for the UK to win market share from rivals importing cars into Britain from Europe.
Under that scenario, Nissan would aim to increase its UK market share to 20 percent from 4 percent now, the Financial Times reported in February. Production of the Nissan Micra small car would move to Sunderland from Renault's plant in Flins, France.
A Nissan spokesman told Automotive News Europe that the company does not comment on "rumors or speculation." Renault also declined to comment.
Peter Sigal in Paris contributed to this report