Nissan's Sunderland Plant has won a contract to start building a new petrol engine from next year.
Assembly of the 2.0-litre engine, codenamed ‘MR’, will safeguard 130 jobs, and Nissan anticipates that up to 200 more could be created by 2013, depending on demand.
The new engine will be used in the Nissan Qashqai and Qashqai +2, which are also produced on Wearside. Talks are also underway to use teh engine in the Russian-built Nissan X-Trail.
The contract has been secured through a £1.94 million grant from Regional Development Agency One North East, supporting a £12.92 million investment by Nissan over the next four years to upgrade and install new facilities.
Nissan says it wanted to locate its plant in Sunderland as part of an ongoing initiative to localise production close to, or within, target markets.
It says his minimises logistics costs and reduces exposure to exchange rates as well as allowing the company to react more quickly to customer demand.