Nissan is to take legal action against the Vote Leave campaign after the Japanese carmaker’s logo was used on leaflets calling for voters to back Brexit in Thursday’s referendum.
On one flyer the Nissan logo appeared next to those of four other major companies, including Unilever and Vauxhall, with the message: “Major employers … have all said they’ll stay in the UK whatever the result of the referendum.”
Nissan, which wants Britain to remain in the EU, announced on Monday it was issuing legal proceedings to stop Vote Leave from using its name and logo and to “prevent them making any further false statements and misrepresentations concerning Nissan”.
In February, Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s chairman and chief executive, said: “Our preference as a business is, of course, that the UK stays within Europe – it makes the most sense for jobs, trade and costs. For us, a position of stability is more positive than a collection of unknowns.
“However, this is ultimately a matter for the British people to decide. While we remain committed to our existing investment decisions, we will not speculate on the outcome nor what would happen in either scenario.”
Unilever has said it will not scale back its UK operations if Britain votes to leave the EU, but the chief executive, Paul Polman, added: “I personally think it would be very good if Britain could stay.”
The legal action is the latest embarrassment for Vote Leave after the UK’s statistics watchdog publicly rebuked the group last month for continuing to claim that EU membership costs the UK £50m a day.
Sir Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, said he was disappointed the lead Brexit campaign was continuing to make this claim, adding that it was “misleading and undermines trust in official statistics”.
The £50m-a-day claim is displayed on the side of the Vote Leave battle-bus.
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