Nissan is today celebrating its 25th anniversary of producing vehicles at its North East manufacturing facility in Sunderland, the UK’s largest car plant.
Opened officially in 1986 by former Prime Minister, Lady Thatcher, in a ceremony which involved painting the second eye on a traditional Japanese ‘daruma’ doll, the plant has since rewritten the record books for UK car production, with volumes increasing from 5,139 Bluebirds in that first year to 423,262 cars in 2010, the first time ever that a UK car plant had made more than 400,000 vehicles in a single year.
“I celebrate this milestone with the Nissan Sunderland Plant and commend the significant achievements of the plant and its employees over the past 25 years,” said Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nissan Motor Co. “As the UK’s largest car plant, biggest car exporter, and soon battery plant - with battery production for the Nissan LEAF planned for next year – Sunderland is a beacon of Nissan’s exemplary leadership in manufacture, management and technology, which define a global car company in the 21st century.”
More than 6.2 million vehicles and 12 different models have been manufactured at the Sunderland plant, including Bluebird, Primera, Micra, Almera, Note, Qashqai and Juke. Commenting on the announcement, Prime Minister David Cameron said, “I welcome Nissan’s continued investment in the UK, and the important role Nissan is playing in helping to rebalance our economy. With the design, development and manufacture of their new generation Qashqai all taking place in the UK, Nissan has restated its confidence in the skills of its British workforce and in the UK’s manufacturing sector.”
This 25th anniversary year has been a special one for Nissan in the UK, with Nissan staff also celebrating the production of their six millionth car in January this year, shortly before the first shipment of the 100% electric Nissan LEAF arrived in the UK in February.
Staff are now gearing up for production starting at the company’s new lithium-ion battery plant in the New Year, ahead of Nissan LEAF production beginning at Sunderland in 2013. Production of the new Qashqai will take Nissan’s total investment in its UK manufacturing base to £3.3 billion.
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