Thursday, 24 March 2016
Nissan to invest £22 million in UK plant
An investment of £22m investment is being made by Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK (NMMUK) in its Washington, UK facility in a bid to increase production of its Qashqai SUV, the company’s best-selling model.
The Japanese carmaker claims it "cannot keep pace" with demand for the Qashqai model, despite record volumes of 300,000 cars every year being built on Line 1 at the company’s Sunderland plant. Here production is reputed to be “round-the-clock” with a build-rate of one car every minute.
Now Nissan engineers are preparing to modify the Wearside plant's Line 2 to introduce additional Qashqai production. This requires an investment of £22m.
The first additional vehicles are scheduled for production before the end of this year when the latest version of the Qashqai will be fitted with Nissan's auto pilot system.
According to Colin Lawther, Nissan’s senior vice president for manufacturing, purchasing and supply chain management in Europe, “When the first Qashqai came off the line in 2006 it created the crossover segment. Today it remains the benchmark for European customers for its dynamic styling, exciting driving experience and innovative technology.
“Through innovative engineering and productivity improvements, my colleagues in Sunderland have broken production records to keep pace with demand, but our new generation Qashqai has reached a tipping point.
“This additional capacity will give us free supply of Qashqai for the first time, ahead of the launch of a refreshed Qashqai equipped with Piloted Drive technology from next year.”
Later this year Nissan celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Sunderland plant, which has grown to become the largest UK car plant, supporting nearly 40,000 UK jobs and manufacturing one in three of all cars made in Britain.
Qashqai recently became the highest volume model in the history of Nissan’s European manufacturing operations; a status previously held by the Micra.
Nissan’s Sunderland plant continues to produce around 1,200 Qashqai vehicles every day. By the end of last month the total stood at 2,398,134 units. No other car in the history of the UK car industry has exceeded 2 million units in such a short period of time.
Globally, Qashqai is manufactured also in Nissan’s plants in St Petersburg, Russia, and in the Huadu Plant of Dongfeng Nissan in China.