Sunderland-built Qashqui races to worldwide success

The Qashqui production line at Sunderland.
The Qashqui production line at Sunderland.
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NISSAN’S ground-breaking Qashqai is a worldwide hit a million times over.

The car giant has revealed global sales of the car – the company’s first model to be entirely designed, engineered and built in the UK – have broken the seven-figure barrier.

The sales figures reveal Qashqai’s critical role in helping Nissan’s Sunderland plant weather the worst of the economic downturn, with more than 760,000 of the 1,000,000-plus sold globally built on Wearside.

Qashqai was conceived at Nissan UK’s London design centre, engineered at its technical facility in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, and initially built exclusively at the Sunderland plant.

The car went on sale in March 2007 and proved an immediate hit, not only in Europe but in Nissan’s Japanese homeland, where it became the first model in a decade to be imported from Sunderland. Demand was so high that Nissan soon announced it would start building Qashqai in Japan and the car is now also produced in two factories in China.

The model, conceived as a “compact crossover” between family car and SUV, tapped into a real gap in the market and has spawned a host of imitations from rival manufacturers.

“Qashqai is clearly the pioneer when it comes to ‘compact crossovers,’ setting the trend that others in the industry follow,” said Guillaume Masurel, Nissan’s global chief marketing manager for Qashqai.

“Its balance of key SUV attributes like robust design, roomy interior and higher driving position combined with the benefits of a hatchback such as great fuel economy, compactness and driving dynamics, resonates well with customers around the world.

“Combining the innovative concept with customer-oriented technology features, the Qashqai clearly demonstrates Nissan’s unique approach to meet customers’ changing expectations of their cars.”