Nissan’s latest investment will help to safeguard the future of its Sunderland plant for years to come.
The car giant is installing a £37million new press line at the Wearside factory – with a life span of a quarter of a century.
Nissan’s Senior Vice President for Manufacturing, Purchasing and Supply Chain Management in Europe, Colin Lawther, was at the plant yesterday to unveil the latest development and was in no doubt about the significance of the announcement.
“It is a really fundamental day for the plant,” he said.
“This is a new investment, £37million, and a 25-year life for this press, so it is really important for the plant going forward.
“Nissan thinks this plant is very fundamental to its success in Europe. It has a long history and we are sure it has a long future.”
“Nissan thinks this plant is very fundamental to its success in Europe. It has a long history and we are sure it has a long future.”Colin Lawther
He told an invited audience of media, dignitaries and staff that Wearside was at the very centre of Nissan’s operation across the continent: “Sunderland is the powerhouse behind our two best-selling cars in Europe, our cross-overs the Qashqai and the Juke,” said Mr Lawther.
“It is also where the panels are pressed for the Note and our Nissan Leaf electric vehicle, which is a flagship. It is the best-selling electric vehicle in the world – the first and the best.
“For this plant, demand has seen production rocket from 300,000 cars per year to more than half a million.”
And he paid tribute to the Wearside workforce which has made the plant the UK’s most successful car factory ever.
“One billion pounds has been invested in this site in the last five years and that is a just reward for the workforce here for demonstrating outstanding quality and productivity over many years,” said Mr Lawther.
“That investment continues today with construction of our new extra-large press line that will support the record output from this plant going forward into the future.
“We have a winning combination in Sunderland of outstanding operational performance, exceptional build quality and innovative and exciting products.”
Going into production in 2017, the new press line and panel storage area requires a building extension totaling 6,780m2, taking the plant’s total footprint to more than 362,000m2, the equivalent of more than 50 football pitches.
To be built alongside the existing seven press lines in Sunderland, the new line will be the biggest at Sunderland, weighing in at around 2,500 tonnes and 10.5metres tall.
Engineering work is already under way, with a 6.5metre deep ‘pit’ being excavated for the foundations.
The new press line will make larger panels for all the Nissan vehicles produced at Sunderland, and also for the two models the plant is to build for the firm’s luxury Infiniti marque.