At a meeting today with Prime Minister David Cameron, the president and chief executive officer of Nissan Motor Co., Carlos Ghosn, announced that workers in Britain will design, engineer and build the next version of the best-selling Nissan Qashqai.
The new Qashqai project will safeguard 6,000 jobs, both direct and indirect through the UK supply chain. It represents a major endorsement of the quality and calibre of British-made products.
The new Qashqai represents a £192 million investment in Britain and is being funded entirely by Nissan. It will build on the success of the current Qashqai which is the highest-volume car produced in the UK with export levels of around 80 per cent.
The first stage of development will see the new version of the pioneering crossover styled at Nissan’s European Design Centre in Paddington, London. Once the design is finalised, engineers from the Nissan Technical Centre Europe in Cranfield, Bedfordshire will take hold of the project. The completed car will be built in the company’s Sunderland manufacturing facility.
Making the announcement outside 10 Downing Street, Carlos Ghosn said: “The UK has been a cornerstone of Nissan manufacturing since 1986, with the Sunderland plant setting important benchmarks for quality and efficiency in Europe and around the world. It’s the home of the Qashqai, one of Nissan’s biggest product successes. And as Nissan’s leadership in sustainable transportation grows, the plant will become one of the pillars of our zero-emission manufacturing.”
Nissan’s Sunderland plant will produce its one millionth Qashqai later this month and more than 80 per cent of current production is exported to 97 markets worldwide.
In addition, Nissan is also investing £420m in Sunderland plant for the production of the 100% electric Nissan LEAF from 2013 and in a new stand-alone facility to make lithium-ion batteries for both Renault and Nissan vehicles from 2012.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This investment from Nissan is fantastic news and a great demonstration of the strength and vitality of the UK car industry. That future manufacturing and R&D has been secured is a tribute to the skill, expertise and hard work of Nissan’s UK workforce.
“It is vital that we have a strong manufacturing base to rebalance our economy and secure sustainable economic growth, and it is this Government’s determination that we do all we can to enable businesses to invest, to grow and create jobs.
“I have seen first hand the tremendous work at the Nissan Sunderland plant; this is a great day for them, the whole of the North East and for UK manufacturing too.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Today’s announcement is welcome news that brings further long-term investment in what is already the UK’s biggest car production plant. Nissan’s Sunderland plant is one of the great success stories of British manufacturing. Development of the Qashqai and other new models will reinforce that.”
The current Nissan Qashqai, launched in December 2006, has been Nissan’s most successful product to date. Sitting between the style of a traditional hatchback and an elevated SUV, Nissan’s Qashqai has captured the car-buying public’s imagination and secured a spot in the UK top ten best sellers list.
The current Qashqai production line in Sunderland has been running around the clock for more than a year to meet global demand, producing an average of 1,200 Qashqais per day. No other car is made in such numbers in the UK, and Nissan is easily Britain’s biggest car manufacturer.
Each Qashqai produced has 3,779 parts, of which 83.6% come from one of 224 UK suppliers.
The plant also produces the Nissan Note mini-MPV and the Juke compact crossover.