Nissan Sunderland

Nissan decision ‘massive vote of confidence in Britain’ says Unite union

Nissan SunderlandNissan has secured 7,000 jobs at its Sunderland factory, and a further 28,000 in the supply chain, by confirming the next-generation Qashqai and X-Trail will be built there. The Unite union says this is thanks to the “world class” workforce employed there.

It is a “massive vote of confidence in Britain’s world-beating car industry”, claims Unite.

The surprise announcement, which came today ahead of a decision previously expected next month, confirmed the next-generation Qashqai for Sunderland. In an added surprise, Nissan announced the X-Trail seven-seat SUV will also now be built there.

Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: “Nissan’s decision is a massive vote of confidence in the skills and expertise of a world-class workforce and testament to their hard work which has made the Sunderland plant one of the most productive in the Nissan family.

“The decision to build the new Qashqai and X-Trail in Sunderland is recognition of the UK car industry’s status as a world leader and secures tens of thousands of jobs at the Sunderland plant and throughout the supply chain.”

Burke also sounded a warning for the government, though, as discussions around Brexit continue. “It is vital that the government supports the car industry and secures tariff-free access to the single market to ensure other manufacturers follow Nissan’s lead and invest in the UK car industry.”

Although the future Qashqai has been secured, several other car manufacturers are due to make investment decisions for UK facilities, said Burke. Tariff-free access to the single market, stresses Unite, will play a key role in these decisions.

The next major UK car factory due to make an announcement regarding future product is Toyota. Its Burnaston facility makes the Auris hatchback and Avensis large family car. It’s unlikely the slow-selling Avensis will survive: all eyes are therefore on what Toyota decides to do with the Auris.

Nissan Sunderland

Sunderland safe: Nissan confirms car production will stay in UK

Nissan SunderlandNissan has confirmed that car production will continue in Sunderland following the Brexit vote.

The future of the factory appeared in doubt after Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn met with prime minister Theresa May two weeks ago. However, Nissan has now committed to remain the UK, stating that both the next Qashqai and X-Trail will be built in Sunderland.

The decision will come as a relief to the 7,000 workers at the plant, which is one of the largest employers in the north of England.

Sunderland opened its doors in 1986, and one in three British cars is now built there. Around two million Qashqai crossovers have rolled off the line over the past decade, with 80% of production currently exported.

Carlos Ghosn said: “The support and assurances of the UK government enabled us to decide that the next-generation Qashqai and X-Trail will be produced at Sunderland. I welcome British Prime Minister Theresa May’s commitment to the automotive industry in Britain.”

Mrs May called the decision “excellent news”, while business secretary Greg Clark said it was “proof of the strength of the sector”.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Today’s announcement is good news for UK Automotive and jobs, confirming Britain as a leader in automotive production. To secure this position, however, we need government to provide public assurance to investors that our advantages will be maintained – namely, a competitive business environment, the ability to recruit talent from abroad and the continuation of all the benefits of the single market as we leave the EU.”

Nissan makes the Juke, Qashqai, Note, Leaf and Infiniti Q30 models in Sunderland at present, so the addition of the X-Trail SUV is an unexpected bonus.

Infiniti Q30

Infiniti car production begins in Britain

Infiniti Q30Infiniti has officially opened its first ever European production facility with the launch Q30 today leaving the assembly line in Sunderland – bringing £250 million new investment and 300 new jobs to Britain.

It’s yet another boost to Nissan’s booming Sunderland factory, which now employs a total of 6,700 people to produce the Q30 compact premium car from the same base as the Nissan Qashqai, Juke and Note.

British Q30 production means Infinitis are now made in five plants, in four countries, on three continents. The UK plant comes online as 2015 sales already exceed 2014 levels – and the Q30 is the next step in Infiniti’s long-awaited arrival as a viable premium alternative to Audi and BMW in Europe.

Nissan chief performance officer Trevor Mann has worked at Sunderland since it opened in 1985 and says the Q30’s arrival begins “an exciting new chapter in the Infiniti story, and I can’t think of a better place to start than here”.

The Q30 will now be exported from Britain to Europe, China and America; Infiniti estimates 1,000 extra jobs in the supply chain, on top of the 300 jobs directly at Sunderland.