NISSAN’S Sunderland plant has a million reasons to celebrate the success of the Qashqai.
Production of the best-selling family car/4x4 hybrid hit seven figures yesterday, when the millionth Qashqai rolled off the line.
The special car is destined to go on show at the O2 in London before being given away as a competition prize.
The Echo revealed yesterday how the plant was due to make history by reaching its millionth Qashqai.
Plant manufacturing boss Kevin Fitzpatrick paid tribute to a car which has exceeded even the most optimistic expectations.
“The original projection was for 135,000 cars a year which, over the course of the model’s five-year life, would have been about 650,000.
“But here we are with the millionth car and we have still got another couple of years to go.”
The outstanding success of Qashqai has helped the plant weather the worst of the economic downturn, supporting jobs not just in Nissan but across the factory’s supply chain, much of which is based locally.
“It has been huge for us and it is very exciting today,” said Kevin.
Now plant bosses have their fingers crossed that they can repeat the success story, after this month’s announcement that Sunderland is to build an all-new Qashqai when the present model reaches the end of its life-span. Like the original, the all-new Qashqai will be entirely British, designed, engineered and built in the UK.
“Looking forward, we have got to try to repeat that success with the new car,” said Kevin.
*Charity fund-raising will be child’s play for Nissan staff.
The firm has teamed up with the Sunderland Summer Festival funfair at the Stadium of Light to raise funds for the Red Cross Japan Tsunami appeal.
The festival will host two special fund-raising days on Friday (July 1) and Sunday, July 10 from which 50 per cent of all profits will go to the ongoing relief effort in Japan.
Nissan’s Richard Craig said: “It’s apparent from the level of support we have received that people have been touched by what has happened in Japan.
“SAFC have been supporting our fund-raising efforts since day one and I’m sure these special days organised by Corporate Funfairs will be well attended by Nissan staff and the wider public.”
Kenneth Reader, from Corporate Funfairs, said: “The Sunderland Summer Festival is a fantastic family event, and we are delighted to be able to support Nissan in their fund-raising efforts to help Japanese families on behalf of the Red Cross Japan Tsunami appeal.”
For further information on the festival visit sunderlandsummerfestival.co.uk