The first Nissan Qashqai rolled off Sunderland’s line this week. Production of the new SUV-apeing family hatchback will be in full swing within four weeks, and 130,000 of this compact crossover will be built in 2007.
Qashqai’s arrival rounds off one of Sunderland’s busiest-ever periods, with three new-model launches within 16 months. And in 2007 it will build Qashqais, Notes, Primeras, Micras and Micra C+Cs: 400,000 units, the most in its 21-year history.
“The workforce has been given a great deal of responsibility,” said Nissan UK manufacturing boss Trevor Mann. “But they have earned the right to build this car [Qashqai] through their continued hard work and excellent track record.”
Qashqai represents a £217.4 million investment. It secures more than 3000 jobs at the UK plant and within the regional supply chain, when many makers are closing UK manufacturing bases, and around 80 percent of its production will be exported. Europe is its target market – but it will also be only the second Sunderland-built car to be sold in Japan.
Dealers should be fully stocked by the end of February – and customers will have the choice of three trim grades and four engine options: two petrols – and, as from April, two diesels, including a new 2.0-litre.