And now the car giant is pledging to inspire the next generation of talent with a promise to offer every schoolchild in the North East a place at a Nissan Skills Foundation event – the company’s programme of activities designed to excite youngsters about careers in manufacturing and engineering. The latest version of the crossover is rolling off the plant’s production Line One. Nissan has invested £400million into the Sunderland plant to support third-generation Qashqai production – key investments have included a £52million second extra-large press line and scrap recycling system and 117 new robots for the plant’s Body Shop. Qashqai has accounted for a fifth of all British car production since its launch 14 years ago. Alan Johnson, Nissan Vice President for Manufacturing in the UK, said: “More than 3.5million customers have chosen a Qashqai made in Sunderland since it went on sale in 2007, and the third generation model delivers the new levels of technology, design and performance people have come to expect. “We know it has been a tough year for young people, so we’re using the launch of this next-generation car to step up our efforts to inspire the next-generation of manufacturing talent. We want every child in the North East of England to have the opportunity to be inspired by the Nissan Skills Foundation." Qashqai was the fastest UK car to reach one, two and three million units built, and more than 3.5 million have now been produced in Sunderland – about a third of the plant’s all-time total. The team at the plant has undergone thousands of hours of training for the launch of the new car, which was designed, engineered and manufactured by Nissan in its UK facilities, supporting more than 7,000 jobs in Paddington, Maple Cross, Cranfield, Lutterworth and Sunderland, as well as a further 24,000 in the wider UK supply chain and about 5,000 in UK dealerships. “Qashqai is a huge part of not just the heritage of our plant, but of the entire UK car industry,” said Alan. “I am confident the third generation, made with pride by the team here in Sunderland, will continue that success story.” Support your Echo and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest on SAFC and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.