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Nissan understood to be working on plans for new vehicle at Sunderland factory
A CAR maker is working on plans to build another model at its North-East factory, The Northern Echo understands.
Nissan, in Sunderland, has hinted it will add to its bustling production line again after starting £125m work on the next generation Note hatchback, which created 400 new jobs and supported 1,600 supply chain posts.
The company, which employs more than 6,000 workers in the region, will make an announcement on its North-East plans next month.
Toshiyuki Shiga, Nissan's chief operating officer, yesterday suggested another car could be made at Sunderland, though refused to reveal the name of the vehicle.
He made the announcement after backing calls from deputy prime minister Nick Clegg for the UK to stay in the European Union (EU).
Mr Clegg compared any move out of the EU to economic suicide, with Mr Shiga raising worries over import tariffs and changes to vehicle safety regulation and emissions regulations.
Mr Shiga said: “The UK is part of the EU, and that is very important.
“From a foreign investor point of view, I hope the UK will remain as an EU member.
“A lot of regulations are under the EU, and if the UK after leaving the EU made unique regulations and standards, that would be an obstacle for us.”
Last month, Nissan began rolling its new Note hatchbacks off its production line, saying it had beaten global competition for the work, and earlier this year started making the ground-breaking electric Leaf model.
Bosses have also unveiled pictures of its new Infinity luxury model, which it will make at Sunderland from 2015 in a £250m investment to create 280 jobs and compete against Audi, BMW and Mercedes.
The Government is expected to hold a referendum on the UK's membership in the EU by 2017, and Mr Shiga's views have been supported by Alistair Dormer, chief executive of Hitachi Rail Europe.
The Japanese firm will open an £82m train building factory in Newton Ayciffe, County Durham, in 2016, which will create 730 North-East jobs and make more than 860 carriages for the Government's Intercity Express Programme.
Mr Dormer said: “Europe is potentially our biggest market and we would not want anything to happen that would create any barriers or damage the relationship, so we should stay in.”
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