Nissan starts production of new Qashqai in Sunderland

The region has been given a major boost with the news that production of the new Qashqai is underway at Nissan's Sunderland Plant.

Following Brexit, the future of the site was thrown into doubt until a trade deal was agreed between Japan and the EU earlier this year.

Following a £400m investment, the latest version of the crossover is now rolling off the plant's production Line One, as the plant celebrates 35 years of manufacturing in the UK.

Qashqai represents one in five of all cars built in Britain since its launch 14 years ago.

Alan Johnson, Nissan Vice President for Manufacturing in the UK, said: "Sunderland Plant is built on 35 years of manufacturing excellence, and from the skills and expertise of our world-class team comes a car for the future.

"More than 3.5m customers have chosen a Qashqai made in Sunderland since it went on sale in 2007, and the third-generation model delivers the new levels of technology, design and performance that people have come to expect from the original crossover."

Since the launch of the original model in 2007, Qashqai has broken record after record.

Nissan has invested £400m into the Sunderland plant to support third-generation Qashqai production Credit: Nissan Motor Corporation

The team at the plant have undergone thousands of hours of training for the launch of Qashqai, which is designed, engineered and manufactured by Nissan in its UK facilities at Sunderland, Paddington, Maple Cross, Cranfield and Lutterworth.

New manufacturing facilities required for new generation technology

Nissan has invested £400m into the Sunderland plant to support third-generation Qashqai production. Key investments have included a £52m second extra-large press line and scrap recycling system, called the Cyclone, which allows Qashqai to become the plant's first model built largely from aluminium.

Other new facility investments include 117 new robots for the plant's Body Shop, working with both aluminium and the new ultra-high tensile steel that helps gives Qashqai its best-in-class safety performance.

Finally, Qashqai's advanced technology has also meant new, advanced, digital systems that programme and bring the car to life.  

As part of the launch, Nissan is pledging to inspire future generations of manufacturing talent through its Skills Foundation.

The Nissan Skills Foundation was founded in 2014 and is geared towards encouraging young people to take up careers in manufacturing. It has grown to include 10 bespoke activities for children aged seven to 18, as well as providing resources for regional schools to take part in international STEM competitions.

To date, more than 65,000 young people from across the North East have taken part in a Nissan Skills Foundation event.