Three good news stories show it’s not all doom and gloom in British manufacturing. Nissan, MINI and Honda announced investment in the UK, bringing an additional 2,000 jobs in car making.
‘September has been a bumper month for good news from the car industry’, commented SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan. ‘Workers in Sunderland, Oxford and Swindon can be proud of their achievements and we look forward to seeing three fantastic models, the Qashqai, the new MINI and the Honda CRV, on our streets in the months and years to come.’
On 6 September, Nissan announced a 300 million euro investment in the Sunderland plant for production of the new Qashqai (pronounced cash-key). Europe’s most productive car plant is expected to make 100,000 Qashqais annually, some of which will be exported back to Japan.
Then, on 13 September, Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, chancellor of the exchequer, joined BMW Group’s chairman Dr Norbert Reithofer in Oxford to celebrate the start of new MINI production. Investment totalling £240 million was announced, along with an increase in output from 200 to 240,000 cars a year. 750 jobs would go to UK-based suppliers too, said Herr Reithofer, as British content in the new car rises from 40 to 60 per cent.
Fast forward to press day at the Paris Motor Show. Honda announced an increase in production capacity and jobs at its Swindon car plant. 700 new jobs are to be created to cope with demand for the Civic, as well as production of the forthcoming CRV, launched at the Paris event. The number of cars built in Swindon will rise by 60,000 units from 190,000 to 250,000 a year.
Photo: Nissan Qashqai