NISSAN today unveiled a new £52m XL press line at its Sunderland manufacturing plant as preparations ramp up for the next-generation Qashqai.
The press, which weighs more than 2,000 tonnes and has taken 18 months to install, is part of a £400m investment by Nissan in readiness for the new Qashqai, which will be the third generation of the pioneering crossover.
The first specially commissioned panels on the press were produced today at an official ceremony led by Nissan chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta, pictured, who said: ‘When the first Nissan Qashqai rolled off the line in Sunderland in 2006 it created the crossover segment.
‘Designed, engineered and made in the UK, and more than three million vehicles later, it remains the benchmark, just as our team in the UK continues to set the standard for productivity and quality.’
It’s a major vote of confidence in the plant, after the manufacturer went back on a pledge to make the next-generation X-Trail there and ended the night shift in Sunderland as well.
The first panel off the press, which can stamp more than 6.1m vehicle panels a year, was for the new Juke, with this month marking the 10th anniversary of the first Juke to roll off the line in Sunderland, and Steve Marsh, vice-president of manufacturing operations at the plant, said: ‘Watching the first perfect panels coming off the press was a proud moment and is a reflection of the tremendous skills we have here on Wearside.’