Nissan is to plough more than £20million into its Sunderland plant to help cope with demand for its most popular model.
The firm is to start building the best-selling Qashqai on a second line at the Sunderland plant.
Nissan engineers will modify Line 2 in a £22milion project which will allow the Sunderland plant to build up to 40,000 more of the pioneering crossover.
Colin Lawther, Nissan’s senior vice-president for manufacturing, purchasing and supply chain management in Europe, said: “When the first Qashqai came off the line in 2006 it created the crossover segment.
“Today it remains the benchmark for European customers for its dynamic styling, exciting driving experience and innovative technology.
“Through innovative engineering and productivity improvements, my colleagues in Sunderland have broken production records to keep pace with demand, but our new generation Qashqai has reached a tipping point.
“This additional capacity will give us free supply of Qashqai for the first time, ahead of the launch of a refreshed Qashqai equipped with Piloted Drive technology from next year.”
Nissan manufactures the Qashqai and the all-electric Leaf on Line 1, on a three-shift basis.
Line 2 produces the Juke, Note and Infiniti Q30 premium compact, and will continue to operate on a two-shift basis.
Sunderland produces about 1,200 Qashqai every day and the car recently became the highest-volume model in the history of Nissan’s European manufacturing, overtaking the Micra.