Trade unions and business leaders have hailed the news that Nissan will build its new Qashqai and X-Trail in Sunderland.
Trade union Unite described the move, which secures over 7,000 jobs at the Sunderland plant and thousands more through the supply chain, as a massive vote of confidence in Britain’s world-beating car industry.
And with other major car makers set to make investment decisions, the union urged the government to provide stability for the industry and wider manufacturing by securing tariff-free access to the single market.
Tony Burke, Unite assistant general secretary, said: "Nissan’s decision is a massive vote of confidence in the skills and expertise of a world-class workforce and testament to their hard work which has made the Sunderland plant one of the most productive in the Nissan family.
"The decision to build the new Qashqai and X-Trail in Sunderland is recognition of the UK car industry’s status as a world leader and secures tens of thousands of jobs at the Sunderland plant and throughout the supply chain.
"A source for decent jobs, skills and innovation, it is vital that the government supports the car industry and secures tariff-free access to the single market to ensure other manufacturers follow Nissan’s lead and invest in the UK car industry."
Gary Hutchinson, Chairman NECC Sunderland/Sunderland Business Group, said: "This is very positive news for the city and the wider region and I extend my congratulations to the leadership team and workforce at Nissan.
"The announcement has effectively secured the long term future of the Washington plant and it is a clear statement of Nissan’s confidence in its north east workforce. Added to those employed directly by Nissan, this announcement also brings job security to the almost 30,000 involved in the supply chain, the impact of which cannot be underestimated.
"For a company the stature of Nissan to express their faith in the UK despite some economic uncertainties at present can only bode well for the country and consequently us here in the north east."
Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "Nissan’s decision to produce the next Qashqai at its Sunderland plant is a welcome one which underlines the strength of the automotive industry here in the North East.
"The advanced manufacturing and automotive sector is a key pillar of the strategic economic plan and is one we will continue to invest in. Nissan’s workforce and the wider supply chain are world class and this success is absolutely merited."
Paul Butler, CEO of the North East Automotive Alliance, added: "Nissan’s announcement is fantastic news for the North East automotive sector.
"Not only will it secure the 7,000 jobs within Nissan, it will secure the many thousands of jobs within the supply chain throughout the UK. It is testament to the excellence of the Nissan employees and the supply chain that the Sunderland plant has been able to secure this investment ahead of increased competition from within the Nissan-Renault Alliance.
"The Qashqai is the UK’s most successful UK built vehicle and was designed, developed and produced in the UK. One Qashqai is being produced every 62 seconds at the Sunderland plant. The additional announcement that the X-Trail will also be produced is an excellent addition to the Sunderland plant and will open up many more opportunities for the UK automotive sector.
"I have no doubt that this announcement will provide a springboard for the future growth and expansion of the North East automotive sector and I look forward to working with Nissan and its supply chain to maximise this opportunity for the North East region."
James Ramsbotham, chief executive, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: "This is fantastic news and a real vote of confidence in the management, workforce and supply chain of Nissan here in North East England.
"This announcement is also going to guarantee employment for thousands of people in the region and is a great testament to the hard work which goes into making this plant such a motor manufacturing global success story.
"Nissan’s statement strengthens further our reputation as a national leader in exporting and highlights how great a place North East England is to invest."
Graham Robb, Chairman of the Institute of Directors in the North East, said: "We have had a hat-trick of good news in the North East; Heathrow, this announcement from Nissan, and the positive GDP figures. The economy is on the right track."
Nigel Mills, chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, added: "This is great news for Sunderland and the wider North East. It does not just have a positive effect on Nissan and its employees, but also the entrepreneurial businesses in its supply chain and their staff."