Nissan’s decision to build a new version of its successful Juke crossover in Sunderland was ‘a massive vote of confidence’ in the city and the wider North East, said George Osborne.
“Let’s be clear, this company could have made the decision to invest in Spain or France, rather than Sunderland,” he said.
“Why did they choose Sunderland? It’s really two things – first, the Government stepped in to help.
“I was here just a few months ago – we stepped in with Nissan, we said ‘What do you need, how can we help?, you are really welcome in the UK,’ – but I am not going to pretend that’s all that was required.
“If we hadn’t had a brilliant workforce here, if we hadn’t had fantastic people here, who are some of the hardest working and most productive car workers in the world, then it would not have come here.
“I think that partnership,is what has delivered the goods. Talking to the guys on the production line here, they are so excited about the job security for the future, the apprentices know their apprenticeship is going to be worth something because there is going to be a job afterwards and they were saying how, when they heard the news yesterday, they went home with a big smile on their faces.”
Colin Lawther, Nissan’s senior vice president, responsible for manufacturing, supply chain management and purchasing in Europe, said the new model was good news for the plant but especially its suppliers.
The new Juke will be part of Nissan/Renault’s Common Module Family – a series of models which utilise the same basic wheel base and mechanical systems.
Nissan expects to have built up to 200,000 of the current Juke by the time it is withdrawn and is predicting similar numbers for the new model. But as many as two million cars could be built in total using the platform on which the car is based.
It could be three years before the new Juke hits the market, with Nissan’s UK design centre in Paddington currently competing against other studios in the group globally for the right to design the car.