Nissan Sunderland commissions one off special edition Newbird to celebrate 35 years of car manufacturing on Wearside

To celebrate 35 years of building cars on Wearside, Nissan has commissioned the one off production of a special version of the Nissan Bluebird – the first car off the factory’s production line in 1986.

While visually the car is in keeping with the original design, the Newbird edition is powered by the engine of a Nissan LEAF, the pioneering electric vehicle behind the shift in trend towards the electrification of vehicles and travel.

Alan Johnson, Vice President of manufacturing at Nissan Sunderland, said: “The ‘Newbird’ represents all that is great about our plant – past present and future – as we celebrate 35 years of manufacturing in Sunderland.

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“We have a rich heritage of building great cars, right from the original Bluebird model, and our fantastic team is now leading the way as we drive towards an exciting electrified, carbon neutral, future.”

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The company hopes the Newbird design will connect 35 years of manufacturing heritage on Wearside, paying tribute to iconic vehicles of the past while incorporating technology of the present and Nissan’s accelerated drive towards electrified travel.

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By 2030, the company hopes to have launched 23 new electric models, accounting for half of its global output.

Managing Director at Nissan, Andrew Humberstone, said; “There’s a huge pride in our dealer network that so many of the cars we sell have started life right here in the UK. Nissan’s Sunderland plant has produced ‘home-grown heroes’ for millions of UK customers with models like the Juke, Qashqai and LEAF amongst the country’s best-sellers.

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The special edition Newbird in convoy with a Nissan Leaf

"This Newbird project is a wonderful tribute to the enduring presence of high quality manufacturing that Nissan has enjoyed in the UK for more than three decades.”

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The special edition Newbird is charged through the original fuel flap, which provides access to the charging port. Fully charged, it has a driving range of around 130 miles and can accelerate from 0 to 62mph in just under 15 seconds.

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Nissan’s Sunderland plant was officially opened in September 1986 and has been in operation ever since. Total output from 1986 to the present day stands in excess of 10.5 million cars.

The number of staff employed at the Sunderland plant has grown from 430 in 1986 to 6,000 today, 19 of whom are still working for the company on the Nissan LEAF.

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