Sunderland Nissan plant drives up UK car market growth

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NISSAN’S Sunderland-built models helped the UK car market to its 30th successive month of growth in August.

Last month saw 72,163 new cars registered, a 9.4 per cent rise on August 2013, taking the number of new registrations so far this year past the 1.5million mark.

The Wearside-built Qashqai is the sixth-biggest seller of the year, with 32,073 registered in 2014.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Mike Hawes said: “New car registrations reached two-and-a-half years of consecutive monthly growth in August, as confident private and fleet consumers continued to snap up enticing deals, on a wealth of advanced new products.

“The UK’s performance in the context of Europe is particularly impressive, with growth consistently ahead of the rest of the EU for the past two years.

“As the UK market starts to find its natural level, we expect to see the growth level off during coming months.”

A Nissan spokesman said: “August was another positive month for Nissan with an increase in sales, thanks to a comprehensively-refreshed product range.

“Of course, August is a small volume month, as motorists gear-up for plate-change September, but the results indicate that the all-new Qashqai and new Juke continue to be the brand’s best sellers in the UK, and we anticipate that the addition of the new X-Trail and Pulsar will drive further growth in the coming months.”

The news comes as the Sunderland plant returns to full production on both lines after problems with the factory’s press.

Manufacturing was suspended last month after planned maintenance over-ran.

Staff returned from the two-week summer shutdown to be told work had taken longer than planned and the press, which produces body parts, was out of action.

Line 1, which produces the Qashqai and the all-electric Leaf, was brought back into action after a week and now Line 2, which builds the Juke and the Note, is also back up and running after repair work in the press shop.