It follows the announcement at last month’s Geneva Motor Show that Sunderland will also produce a mainstream B-segment compact car based on the INVITATION concept from next year. The new medium hatchback announced today will create an additional 225 jobs at Nissan and 900 at component companies supplying Nissan in the UK. Combined, both models will result in more than 3,000 new jobs being created in the UK automotive sector within the next two years – 625 at Nissan and the remainder across the supply base. Once recruitment for both models is complete, the Sunderland Plant workforce will stand at a record 6,225 supporting an overall annual plant volume of more than half a million units.
The announcement was made by David Cameron and Nissan Chief Operating Officer, Toshiyuki Shiga, during a visit to Nissan’s headquarters in Yokohama, Japan. It was confirmed that the new hatchback, which will be named closer to its sales launch, marks Nissan’s return to the mainstream medium segment in Europe and will play a major role in the company’s continued expansion under the ambitious ‘Nissan Power 88’ mid-term plan. Production capacity for the new model will be around 80,000 units triggering the need for Sunderland Plant to implement an additional shift. This will see both production lines operating ‘around the clock’ for the first time in the plant’s 26-year history, a move which will take manufacturing capacity beyond 550,000 units. The announcement also consolidates Sunderland Plant’s position as the UK’s largest car manufacturer, a title it has held since 1998.
In 2010 Sunderland became the first and only UK car plant to produce more than 400,000 units in a single year when 423,000 Qashqais, Notes and Jukes rolled off the line. This was smashed last year when 480,000 cars were produced. Now the plant is preparing to pass the half million mark for the first time. As well as having a significant impact in volume terms, the new hatch represents an additional £127 Mn investment by Nissan in its Sunderland operation and, crucially, is supported by an offer of £8.2 Mn Regional Growth Fund from the UK Government. This marks an unprecedented period of investment in Sunderland Plant in recent years totaling £921 Mn – more than a quarter of overall investment in the plant. This includes introduction of the 100% electric Nissan LEAF in 2013; Juke launch; the construction of a battery plant and the replacement for the Qashqai crossover – in addition to the two recent model announcements.
Nissan Chief Operating Officer, Toshiyuki Shiga, said: “In Europe Nissan has achieved record growth in recent years by providing innovative, customer-focused models like Qashqai and Juke that are designed, developed and produced within the region. Nissan already produces more vehicles in Europe than any other Asian manufacturer and the model announced today will bring world-class quality and leading technology to our customers at the heart of the European C-segment. I would also like to thank the UK Government for its strong and sustained support which allows us to continue making significant, long-term investment in our Sunderland operation.”
Prime Minister, David Cameron, commented: “It is fantastic news that Nissan will be building their new hatchback model in the UK and that they expect to create more than 1000 jobs at the Sunderland plant and in the supply chain across the country. It’s proof of the strength and vitality of the British manufacturing industry that leading companies like Nissan are expanding their production in the UK. I’ve already seen first hand the tremendous work at the Nissan Sunderland plant and it’s great to be visiting the company’s headquarters in Yokohama today. Nissan’s investment in the UK is a huge vote of confidence in the skills and flexibility of the UK workforce. We want to attract more investment like this and that’s why we’re encouraging foreign companies with incentives like the Regional Growth Fund.”
More details about the new hatchback including pricing, engine line-up and equipment levels will be released closer to the car’s sales launch.
A major recruitment campaign is now taking place at Nissan Sunderland Plant. Roles immediately available include engineering, maintenance and production supervisor positions. Candidates can find all information at www.careersatnissan.co.uk