Nissan will cut hundreds of jobs at its Sunderland plant, Britain's biggest car factory, as it tackles declining demand for diesel models across Europe, a source told Reuters today. 

Nissan builds its Qashqai and Juke models at the northeastern English site.

The company's sales in Britain, Europe's second-largest car market, have fallen 35% so far this year, worse than overall demand in the sector, which is down 12%. 

Jaguar Land Rover is cutting around 1,000 jobs and output at two of its factories after a fall in sales which the industry has partly blamed on confusion over government diesel policy, with a tax hike having come into force this month.

Nissan said it is discussing the operational changes with its employees.

"We will be managing a planned short-term reduction in powertrain supply and plant volumes," the firm said in a statement. 

Demand for diesel fell by a third in the first three months of this year in Britain hit by continued consumer concern over planned tax rises and proposed bans and restrictions in several cities around the world. 

Nissan, which in 2016 announced that it would build new models in Britain, providing a boost to Prime Minister Theresa May, said today its production changes were not linked to Britain's departure from the European Union. 

"This is not related to Brexit. In time we expect volumes to increase as we prepare to launch the next generation Juke, Qashqai and X-Trail," the company stated.