Nissan shares then and now pictures to mark more electric Leafs built than the iconic Bluebirds in Sunderland

Nissan has now built more LEAF electric cars in Sunderland than the iconic Bluebirds – the first car built at the plant in 1986.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 4:51 pm
The first car to be built at the Sunderland plant was the Bluebird.
The first car to be built at the Sunderland plant was the Bluebird.

Nissan’s production of the electric LEAF car has now overtaken the Bluebird production at the company’s plant in Sunderland, which was the first car built at the plant in 1986.

A total of 187,178 Bluebirds were built from 1986 to 1990 when production took over 22 hours for each car and now 35 years later, Nissan’s manufacturing technology has reduced the production time to 10 hours for the Nissan LEAF and 195,380 units have been manufactured.

The number of staff employed at the Sunderland plant has grown from 430 in 1986 to 6,000, with 19 staff who started in ‘86 still working today on Nissan LEAF.

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Nissan's electric LEAF.

In July 1986 the first Nissan Bluebird rolled off the production line at the plant, which employed just 470 members of staff at the time.

Bluebird Job 1, which was the first car, is now a centerpiece in a local museum display commemorating the vehicle.

The Nissan LEAF is also making it’s mark with the 500,000th LEAF recently produced in Sunderland.

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The first car to be built at the Sunderland plant was the Bluebird.

Alan Johnson, Vice President Manufacturing, at Nissan Sunderland Plant, said: “Bluebird was an iconic model for the plant and evokes fond memories among all Nissan enthusiasts.

“LEAF volumes overtaking Bluebird shows how dramatically our manufacturing innovation, skills and processes have evolved as we drive towards electrification.

“LEAF overtaking Bluebird is a landmark – but there are many more to come for our team at the plant as our electrified line up grows.”

There are now over half a million LEAF on the road around the world and over the past decade the car has won several awards including Car of the Year 2011 in Europe, World Car of the Year 2011 and Car of the Year Japan in 2011 and 2012.

Nissan's 100 percent electric LEAF.

The company have announced plans for a major expansion to renewable energy generation at its plant in Sunderland with a proposed 20MW solar farm extension and if approved would mean 20 percent of the plant’s energy would come from onsite renewables.

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