Key dates in Nissan's history

July 1986: The first Nissan Bluebird rolls off the production line at the plant, which employed 470 staff.

September 1986: Official opening by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Nissan president Yutaka Kumet.

May 1990: Phase two completed. Bluebird retired. Primera enters production.

August 1992: Production of the Micra sees the plant making two models simultaneously.

January 1995: One millionth car produced.

January 2000: Production of Almera begins.

December 2003: Sunderland to produce new convertible Micra C+C.

June 2005: Four millionth car built.

September 2005: Production of Micra C+C begins.

January 2006: Launch of the Tone (now renamed Note).

March 2006: Prime Minister Tony Blair visits the plant as the three-millionth car rolls off the production line for export.

September 2006: Unveiling of the Qashqai production model.

April 5 2008: New version of 4x4 Qashqai to be built at the plant.

June 3, 2008: Plant is to build a new car to replace the Micra.

June 29, 2008: Eight hundred jobs created when the Sunderland plant went 24-7.

October 8, 2008: The plant announces it is laying off some of the staff hired on short-term contracts when it made the move to three-shift working.

October 20 2008: Nissan announces a freeze in production of the Micra and Note at the Sunderland plant, stopping line two for two weeks from the end of the month.

October 31, 2008: Nissan announces a huge fall in global profits.

December 1, 2008: Nissan extends its cutback in production of the Note and Micra at the Sunderland plant, continuing four-day working on line two which makes the models.

December 9 2008: Workers sent home and production frozen for the rest of the week.

December 11 2008: Nissan bosses say they will look at staffing levels.

December 18 2008: Workers finish for Christmas five days earlier than expected.

January 5 2009: Workers return to the production line after Christmas break.

January 8 2009: Announcement that 1,200 jobs being axed.

Nissan news & reaction

- TOP STORY: We will survive

- Nissan workers stunned

- Nissan boss: We will come back

- Union chief fears job losses domino effect

- Sad news for city

- Reaction from businesses

- 'Sunderland people will get through'

- Key dates in Nissan's history

- How the news broke... 'Nissan axe 1,200 jobs'

>> More in-depth reaction in today's Sunderland Echo

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