Nissan suspends operations in Sunderland.

Days after it inaugurated a new stamping line at its Sunderland Factory – and insisting it would carry on with its UK manufacturing – Nissan has stopped production at its factory in the North East of England owing to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The move is the most significant to affect the automotive sector in Britain so far and comes as Nissan assesses the impact to its supply chain and its ongoing drop in demand.

"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," read a statement from Nissan.

Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant in the north west will also close temporarily due to the pandemic.

That decision comes after it was announced that the factory would be cutting down from a five-day work week to just four days.

Nissan Sunderland plant UK

The cutback to four days from five won't result in fewer hours for the workforce, with the remaining days being extended to compensate, it could lead to job cuts further down the line.

The factory has faced an uncertain future for several years, further accelerated by PSA's purchase of General Motors' remaining European operations in 2017.

The next generation of the Astra hatchbackwill be built in Ruesselsheim, Germany and the estate variant will be built alongside it – it's the estate that's currently built in Cheshire. Opel's factory in Gliwice, Poland, that produces the current hatchback model will switch to van production from next year.

Gallery: Nissan Juke production at Sunderland UK plant