NISSAN’S Sunderland plant will make history this week when it turns out its millionth Qashqai.
The extraordinary sales performance of the hybrid family car/4x4 crossover has played a huge part in helping the company escape the worst effects of the economic downturn on the British car industry.
And the success story is set to continue, with last week’s announcement that the Sunderland plant is to build an all-new version of the car.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan vice president for manufacturing in the UK, said: “The Nissan Qashqai has been a phenomenal success since its start of production just four-and-a-half years ago.
“Qashqai was the first car of its type on the market, so producing one million in such a short space of time is a fantastic achievement, not just by staff at the Sunderland plant, but also by the designers and engineers who developed such a popular car and our dealer network who have helped to generate such high demand.”
Qashqai’s millionth birthday comes five years after the car was unveiled to the world.
It was in June 2006 that Nissan’s global boss Carlos Ghosn revealed the company’s first all-British car.
Named after a desert-dwelling nomadic tribe living near the Zagros mountains in South Western Iran, Qashqai was the first car to be developed entirely by Nissan’s UK operation.
It was conceived at the firm’s design centre in London, developed at the European technical centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, and built exclusively on Wearside.
Qashqai went on sale in December 2006 and it was soon obvious that even Nissan’s most optimistic sale projections had seriously underestimated how popular the new car would be.
Sunderland-built cars were originally exported to Nissan’s Japanese homeland, but demand soon outstripped supply to such an extent that the company had to start building Qashqai in Japan to keep up.
- A world-record bid will aim to make the Nissan Leaf the fastest car ever to be driven backwards.
A professional stunt driver will attempt to set the record this weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the electric vehicle, which will be built at Nissan’s Wearside plant from 2013.
Unlike petrol cars, which can only reverse at low speed, the Leaf can be driven backwards as fast as forwards, although this is limited for safety reasons in the production model.