Japanese car manufacturer Nissan has announced that it will produce two new car ranges at its UK site, following reassurances it received from the UK government in the midst of uncertainties surrounding Brexit.

“The support and assurances of the UK government enabled us to decide that the next-generation Qashqai and X-Trail will be produced at Sunderland. I welcome prime minister Theresa May’s commitment to the automotive industry in the UK and to the development of an overall industrial strategy,” says Nissan CEO and chairman, Carlos Ghosn.

May commented on the decision as “fantastic news” and a “vote of confidence [that] shows Britain is open for business”.

Just weeks earlier Ghosn had stated that Nissan would be delaying all its investment decisions in Sunderland until Brexit negotiations with the European Union have been concluded.

The pivot in Nissan’s stance has sparked a political row in the country, with members of parliament from opposition parties demanding publication of the reassurances that were provided to the company, in a written letter by business secretary Greg Clark. Nissan has insisted on receiving any commitments from the government in writing.

Clark has refused to publish the letter, but says the government has guaranteed to seek tariff-free access for the company and that it was open to making similar deals with other car manufacturers with plants in the UK.

“The automotive sector is one of our great strengths,” he told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show. “We want to see the whole industry prosper.”

The letter, written to Nissan’s executive committee, contains four key points according to Clark: to provide funding for training and skills, to increase the use of UK SME’s in the car industry supply chain, to boost UK research on electric cars and to seek tariff-free access to the EU for the car sector.

Shadow business secretary for the Labour party, Clive Lewis, raised skepticism that Nissan would commit to millions of pounds of investment on the basis of good intentions alone, and highlighted that while the decision was welcomed, other sectors, including the services, which account for larger shares of the economy, deserve attention too.

Nissan says its decision will lead to an increase in investment in Sunderland that will directly sustain the jobs of some 7,000 workers at the plant and a further 28,000 supply chain jobs supported by it.

Sunderland is the UK’s biggest car manufacturing hub with one-third of cars manufactured there. Around 80% of cars produced in the town are exported to over 130 countries worldwide.