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Nissan looks to break 2012 record
NISSAN’S North-East car factory is on target to set new production records and recruit hundreds of workers, according to bosses who said there was space for future expansion.
Following a landmark year last year, when it became the first plant in UK history to make more than half a million cars, Nissan bosses predict this will be another bumper year.
The Japanese manufacturer this week started work on an expansion to the record-breaking plant, which will enable it to make the luxurious Infiniti Q30 hatchback from 2015.
At a groundbreaking ceremony to start work on the new facilities, Nissan executive vice-president Trevor Mann said: “The way things are going we will exceed last year’s 510,000 cars.
“The Sunderland plant has been a huge success story for Nissan and for the North-East. The reputation of the management team, staff and suppliers for delivering on time and to the highest quality means that this plant continues to secure major projects, such as Infiniti.”
Asked if the latest expansion would be the last, Mr Mann added: “If we wanted to expand in the future we have more than enough space to do so but we have more than enough on our plate right now.”
Mr Mann admitted that popularity of the Sunderland-built Leaf electric hatchback, which has been made in Sunderland since March, in the UK had failed to match strong demand in Japan and the US, but he was confident British motorists would be come convinced by the concept of all-electric motoring.
He said: “Buying a car is the second major purchase people make, so people aren’t going to make the switch lightly. This will be a gradual thing.
“We are happy with where Leaf is at. Globally we expect to make double what we produced last year.
Things are heading in the right direction.”
Infiniti will become the first new car brand to be manufactured in the UK on this scale for 23 years.
The expansion will create 280 jobs at the plant and about 750 jobs at the firm’s suppliers, Nissan said.
Last month, Nissan created 400 jobs when it started £125m work on the Note hatchback, and the firm’s senior boss, Toshiyuki Shiga, fuelled hopes of more posts after hinting another model could be made at Sunderland.
Mr Mann refused to be drawn on speculation that another major model will be made before the end of the year.
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