Nissan to build new premium model in Sunderland

Nissan

Car maker Nissan is to build a new compact model at its Sunderland plant in the northeast of England.

The Japanese manufacturer said today that it would be investing around GBP250m in the factory for production of the Infiniti, a small luxury car, starting in 2015.

This is expected to create up to 1,000 new jobs, of which around 280 will be in Sunderland and the rest generated across the supply chain.

Nissan is planning to produce up to 60,000 Infiniti cars per year in Sunderland, to be exported around the world.

The new car is being developed with help from the group’s London design centre and its European technical centre in Bedfordshire. It is intended to appeal to buyers in Europe, according to Colin Dodge, executive vice president and chief performance officer at Nissan.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) welcomed Nissan’s announcement and said that, when production begins, Infiniti will become the first new car brand to be manufactured in the UK on this scale in 23 years.

Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson commented that Nissan’s new investment is a vote of confidence in the plant, the city and its workforce, and Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the investment as “another vote of confidence for UK manufacturing.”

The Sunderland factory employs more than 6,000 people and currently makes the Qashqai, Juke and Note, as well as battery packs for the Leaf electric car. Nissan announced earlier this year that a hatchback car would also be made at the plant but this will now be moved to another factory in Europe in order to make space for the Infiniti. The net gain amounts to around 55 jobs and almost double the previously announced investment.

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