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NISSAN’S Sunderland plant has gone silver.

It was 25 years ago today that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Nissan president Yutaka Kume officially opened the Wearside plant.

Lady Thatcher’s successor David Cameron was among those sending his best wishes ahead of today’s celebrations:

“I welcome Nissan’s continued investment in the UK, and the important role Nissan is playing in helping to rebalance our economy,” he said.

“With the design, development and manufacture of their new generation Qashqai all taking place in the UK, Nissan has restated its confidence in the skills of its British workforce and in the UK’s manufacturing sector.”

Nissan’s global boss Carlos Ghosn added: “I celebrate this milestone with the Nissan Sunderland Plant and commend the significant achievements of the plant and its employees over the past 25 years,.

“As the UK’s largest car plant, biggest car exporter, and soon battery plant - with battery production for the Nissan LEAF planned for next year - Sunderland is a beacon of Nissan’s exemplary leadership in manufacture, management and technology, which define a global car company in the 21st century.”

The plant will mark the milestone this morning, when a time capsule will be buried on the site, recreating the ceremony held when construction of the plant began.

The new time capsule updates the artefacts placed inside the original, including a model Qashqai, a telephone directory, newspapers from today, a Sunderland AFC shirt and items donated by regional partners such as the North East Chamber of Commerce.