Thursday, 5 June 2008

Nissan announces new crossover for Sunderland plant (UK)

Nissan has announced that a new vehicle will be produced at their Sunderland plant in 2010 after the Micra moves to India. The new vehicle, described as a crossover will sit below the Qashqai in the Nissan line-up and is expected to take hints of the 2006 URGE concept. Company officials have said that the overall styling of the vehicles has not been finalised yet.

Press Release:

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., announced that it will source an innovative all-new compact car from its Sunderland plant in the United Kingdom (UK), starting in 2010. Building on the success of the Qashqai, the all-new product will reinforce Sunderland’s role as manufacturer and exporter of high-value products.

The decision was announced following a visit today by the British Prime Minister, the Right Honorable Gordon Brown, to Nissan’s European Design Centre in central London where he met Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO, Nissan Motor Co.

The Prime Minister said, "Nissan is a global manufacturer with strong roots in Britain and I'm pleased to welcome Nissan's new investment in the UK. Today's announcement that a brand new car is to be designed and built in the UK is another important boost to our manufacturing industry, and builds upon Nissan's recent commitments to increase investment and jobs at its record breaking Sunderland plant.

"Sunderland's success shows what an innovative, talented and highly committed workforce can achieve, and reaffirms the UK's position as a strong player in the global car industry," he added.

Carlos Ghosn said, “By delivering on tough commitments, our employees at Sunderland have demonstrated our plant can be a globally competitive centre for the production of high-value products. We are encouraged by the proactive support shown by the British government to decide new products for the Sunderland plant.”

The all-new vehicle will be an addition to the current Nissan range and for the Sunderland plant, and it will take up the manufacturing capacity created when production of the current version of the Micra ends in 2010.

Next generation Micra:

Nissan will compete in the entry-car market with a dedicated new A platform that will be used for at least three models, including the next generation of Micra, and will be built in five Leading Competitive Countries (LCCs).

Production sites for this family of compact cars will include the new plant in Chennai, India, being constructed by the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The development of a competitive A platform is one of several business breakthroughs announced as part of Nissan GT 2012, the company’s new five-year business plan.

The Nissan plant in Sunderland produced a record 374,000 vehicles in fiscal year 2007. Nissan is the largest vehicle exporter from the UK, with around 80% of production sold outside of the country, hence why sales have been plummeting over the last few years. Together with the engine assembly plant and other facilities, Sunderland currently employs 4,700 workers.

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