The B-segment car will be launched at the plant next year and will be the product of a £125m investment by Nissan. The UK Government Regional Growth Fund has provided a £9.3m offer of support. The move is expected to create around 2000 new jobs, both at Nissan and the supply chain.
The model will be built alongside the Nissan Juke and will compete within the core mainstream B-segment. Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President Nissan said: "The aim is to 100% pitch it at the Fiesta. I absolutely mean that, and I've been nigh-on fanatical about the ride and handling development not just in Europe, but specifically in the UK. It's been tested extensively out of Cranfield and I believe hand on heart it is a credible Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta rival."
Nissan expects the new model to have an annual market of around 100,000 units initially. The move cements Sunderland’s position as the largest car plant in the UK. In 2011, it produced more than 480,000 units.