The new Nissan Juke will help to save 1000 jobs at the firm's Sunderland plant and another 2000 in the supply industry, according to the Japanese manufacturer.
The new small crossover will play its part in the trend of moving supermini production to low-cost countries such as India when it replaces the Micra at the firm's plant in Sunderland.
The Juke will sell at a higher price than the Micra. Producing budget cars in high-cost Western factories is no longer a viable business plan, say industry analysts. So were it not for the Juke's arrival at Sunderland - which also produces the larger Qashqai - jobs could have been put at risk.
Nissan says it is convinced that a significant number of European car buyers in the supermini and Golf markets are looking for a new type of car that breaks out of the traditional hatchback mould. "We are looking to inject some much-needed dynamism into the small car segment," said one Nissan source.
When it goes on sale in October, the 187bhp 1.6 turbo Juke will be available with four-wheel drive, and a CVT. Two-wheel-drive cars get a six-speed manual.
There will also be a more powerful version of the 1.6-litre petrol engine found in the Note, with 113bhp, and a 1.5-litre diesel.
Nissan is offering the Juke with upmarket options, such as keyless entry, a rear-view camera and automatic headlights.