“THE most important new Nissan of the decade so far.”
Former Sunderland plant boss Trevor Mann made no secret of just how vital the new version of its best-selling model is as the car giant unveiled the second generation Qashqai to a 400-strong invited audience of journalists from across Europe today.
Nissan’s global CEO Carlos Ghosn unveiled the new model and promised Qashqai mark two would build on the unprecedented success of the original, which has sold two million cars worldwide in the last six years.
“We knew we could do better and go even further,” he said.
“The second generation model is new from the ground up, It is sleeker, larger, lower and roomier.
He added the new Qashqai is good news for Wearside.
“All the people working at our Sunderland plant are cheering for this model,”said Mr Ghosn.
“Sunderland is the only plant that builds this car for sale in Europe.” Mr Mann, now based at Nissan’s global headquarters in Japan, emphasised the importance of the Qashqai to the continuing success of the Sunderland plant.
“In total vehicle production this year, we will probably build 300,000 Qashqais out of 500,000 cars,” he said.
“Sixty per cent of the vehicles represents 60 per cent of the workforce and 60 per cent of our supply base.
“It is an extremely important vehicle to our business.
“We will be selling somewhere in the region of 600,000 vehicles in total in Europe and 240,000 of them so far this year will be Qashqais, so it is about 35 to 40 per cent of Nissan’s business,” he said.
He is confident lightning can strike twice with Qashqai.
“We have got two million happy customers who drive Qashqai globally,” he said.
“We have listened to their feed-back and we have incorporated that feedback, and more, into the new Qashqai.
“By far in Europe, we are the segment leader – we have almost double the market shore of our next competitor – and we want to maintain that.”
The new model will go on sale in February.
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