A decision to introduce round-the-clock manufacturing at Nissan’s Wearside plant will help the car giant’s European sales reach record levels, it was claimed last night.
Bosses have revealed they intend to plough more than £2bn into the car company’s European production in a bid to boost global sales.
A new “face-lifted” Juke model – due to be produced in the North East from May – was unveiled at the Geneva motorshow as the company’s top executives met in Switzerland.
It’s predicted that the company’s Sunderland site will produce its two millionth Qashqai this year while, in 2015, it will start production of first Europe-built Infiniti, the Q30.
Colin Lawther, senior vice president of manufacturing, said: “The success of Nissan as a global company is helped by local production, which is vital to ensure our products meet the needs of our customers.
“The success of the models built in the UK, Spain and Russia show that Nissan’s blend of excitement and innovation, allied to top quality and stunning design, is just what the market wants.”
It is 30 years since Nissan broke ground in Sunderland on what is now among its top manufacturing plants globally. More than 7.5 million cars have been built at Sunderland in those three decades.
In total, Nissan built 675,077 vehicles in Europe last year, – a number expected to be topped in 2014 as the company continues towards its goal of being the number one Asian brand in Europe.
The Sunderland plant produced more than 500,000 vehicles in both 2012 and 2013 and has built more than 500,000 Jukes since production started in 2010. More than 7,000 staff are now employed at the site, plus more than 29,000 employed by suppliers.
In total, Sunderland took on 1,400 people in the last 12 months to manage demand for the products built there, including the Qashqai, Juke, new Note and Leaf.
The new Juke will go on sale across Europe in the summer.
Andy Palmer, executive vice president at Nissan motor corporation, said: “More Nissan vehicles than ever now have been manufactured, designed and engineered in Europe, and for Europe.
“With input from Nissan Technical Centre Europe and cutting-edge design from Nissan Design Europe, we are building innovative products that lead their segments and technology and desirability.”
Guillaume Cartier, senior vice president, sales and marketing for Nissan in Europe, said: “We stunned the industry with Qashqai, the original crossover, and we’ve done it again with Juke.
“If anything, Juke is even more daring and different than Qashqai and appeals to a younger, more outgoing audience.
“The changes we have made to new Juke will extend that appeal even further to cement Nissan’s position as the leading brand in the crossover market.”