Production work has started on the Nissan Note as the Wearside factory goes from strength to strength.
Business minister Michael Fallon was at the to see how the new Note will be produced at Europe’s most productive car factory.
Nissan’s 6,000-strong workforce starts on the car knowing there are some 14,000 pre-orders already in place.
The upgraded Nissan Note alone is responsible for 2,000 new jobs in the UK automotive industry, including 400 staff at Nissan’s workforce at Sunderland, taking the number of British jobs supported by Nissan to more than 35,000.
In addition to vehicle assembly, the new Note has brought additional work to the North East and the supply chain, with orders for axle production, engine assembly and other parts.
Yesterday the official start of production began with a ceremony on Line 2 at the Sunderland plant led by John Martin, Nissan’s Senior Vice President for Manufacturing, Purchasing and Supply Chain Management in Europe, as well as the minister.
Mr Martin said: “This investment is further endorsement of our Sunderland Plant, which is now an international benchmark for productivity and quality as a result of the hard work and consistently high performance by the management and workforce.
“I would like to congratulate all of my colleagues at the plant and in our supply base on the launch of this new model, and once again thank the UK Government for their ongoing support for the automotive industry.”
Mr Fallon praised the workforce for its work to secure Note production, following a £125m investment by Nissan, secured for the UK with a £9.3m grant from the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund.
The Conservative MP said: “The investment by Nissan to make the Note at the world class Sunderland plant has been achieved by Government and industry working together. It provides a very welcome boost to their exceptional workforce, the North East economy and the country.
“Working in partnership with industry, our automotive industrial strategy sets out how we will secure the long term future of the sector as a UK success story by growing our share of the value chain and by getting ahead of the game in research and development on the vehicles of tomorrow.”
More than one in three cars built in the UK is now a Nissan, which has been Britain’s biggest car producer since 1998.
Current production at the plant includes the Nissan Qashqai, the 100% electric Nissan LEAF, the Nissan Note, Nissan Juke and Juke NISMO.
Nissan also applied last month for permission to further extend its Sunderland factory, where it plans to produce its premium brand Infiniti from 2015.