NISSAN’S Sunderland plant smashed the 500,000 mark for the third successive year in 2014.
The continued success of the Qashqai, coupled with growing demand for the electric Leaf, saw the Wearside factory turn out 500,237 cars last year.
Electric vehicle production at Sunderland doubled in 2014 with more than 17,000 built.
Production at the UK battery plant was also stepped up, as it started supplying units for use in the all-electric e-NV200 van, built at Nissan’s Barcelona plant.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan’s Vice President for Manufacturing in the UK, said: “Successfully launching the new Qashqai last January was key to the matching our record-breaking volumes of the previous two years.
“Increasing demand for the 100 per cent electric LEAF, the world’s best-selling electric vehicle, also has played a significant part.
“We are now looking ahead to another exciting year for the company and the historic launch of Infiniti production in Sunderland.
“The plant’s reputation for productivity and quality is driven by our workforce and I would like to thank and congratulate them all on another productive year.”
The Nissan Qashqai made automotive history last year, hitting the two million mark in record time.
Designed, engineered and built in the UK for European customers, the Qashqai reached its latest manufacturing milestone quicker than any other model in the history of the UK car industry.
One in every five cars built in the UK is a Qashqai, and four out of five vehicles are exported to Europe.
Nissan’s expansion of its Sunderland line-up continued with the addition of the supercharged DIG-S engine to the Note in February and a facelift for the Juke in June.
And the year ended with the launch of the Juke Nismo RS.
The second half of this year will see the Infiniti Q30 become the first new car brand to be manufactured in the UK on this scale in more than 20 years.