Leaf production starts on Wearside

A new model of the Nissan Leaf is going into production at the Wearside plant.

National

Cameron completes tradition started by Thatcher

David Cameron came face-to-face with an old Japanese tradition today, completing a ceremony started by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1986. The 'Daruma Doll' is used to motivate people and help them complete goals.

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher seen in 1986 with the Daruma doll
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher seen in 1986 with the Daruma doll. Credit: Press Association

When the goal is set, one eye is coloured in. When the goal is complete, the remaining eye is coloured in. Margaret Thatcher filled in the first eye during the official opening of Nissan's car plant in Tyne and Wear in 1986.

David Cameron colours in the eye of a Daruma doll
David Cameron colours in the eye of a Daruma doll. Credit: Press Association

Today, David Cameron filled in the other eye to mark the production launch of Nissan's electric LEAF car.

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Prime Minister hails Sunderland car production launch

The Prime Minister said it was a great day for the whole country as he attended the production launch of car manufacturer Nissan's electric LEAF car in Sunderland.

David Cameron was speaking at the Sunderland factory, where he was given a tour and met members of staff.

He was also shown a LEAF that was cut in half, to see how it works inside, and got the chance to stick a Nissan badge onto the front of one of the cars fresh off the production line.

Mr Cameron also took part in a traditional Japanese ceremony, when he coloured in the eye of a Daruma doll.

The LEAF car, which is 100% electric, is now rolling off the production line in the record breaking Sunderland plant.

After speaking at the launch he was then taken to the factory canteen where he ate lunch with some of the employees.

"It is a huge privilege as Prime Minister to be here at this incredible plant today and to see this incredible new car.

"This plant, all of the people who work here, the cars being produced behind me, are the best possible rebuke to those who say in Britain we don't design things anymore, we don't make things anymore.

"You have shown here at Nissan in Sunderland that we can and we can do it brilliantly."

"It's a great day for Nissan in Sunderland.

"You are the most efficient car plant in Europe and you are one of the most efficient car plants in the world.

"It's also a great day for our country. You have produced over seven million cars in this plant, it's an incredible record here in Sunderland which you can be very proud of."

– David Cameron, Prime Minister

"The Nissan LEAF is our most technically advanced car yet and the launch of this new model, built along with its batteries in Sunderland, is a huge boost not only for the plant but for British manufacturing.

"We could not have reached this point without the support and commitment we have enjoyed from governments across Europe, especially the British Government."

– Andy Palmer, Nissan's executive vice president

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Prime Minister to launch new Nissan Leaf

The new model of the Nissan Leaf, an electric car being made on Wearside Credit: Nissan

The Prime Minister and Business Secretary will be on Wearside to see the first new model of the Nissan Leaf roll off the production line. David Cameron and Vince Cable will tour the factory in Sunderland.