NISSAN is investing £37 million in a new press facility in its record-breaking Sunderland, UK plant in a bid to increase output further.
The new press line will make larger panels for all the Nissan vehicles produced in Sunderland, and will also provide panels for two forthcoming Infiniti models, the Infiniti Q30 and Infiniti QX30. Last year, Nissan confirmed it would need an additional 300 new staff to support production of Infiniti which is Nissan's sister brand.
Recently, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan’s vice president for manufacturing in the UK and Colin Lawther (Nissan's senior vice president for manufacturing purchasing and supply chain management in Europe) inspected work in progress.
To be built alongside the existing seven press lines in Sunderland, the new line will be the biggest at Sunderland and the first of its type in the Renault-Nissan alliance, pressing panels with a total force of 5,200 tonnes.
The expansion will take Nissan’s regional workforce to nearly 6,800, and mean it supports about 28,000 jobs in the supply chain.
The new line is not expected begin production until early 2017. The new press line and panel storage area requires a building extension totalling 6,780 square metres, taking the total built up space on site over 362,000 square metres.
Lawther said: “Nearly three million customers have bought a Nissan crossover manufactured here in the UK, and the 33,000 Nissan LEAFs made here have helped it to become the best-selling electric vehicle in history.”
“This fresh investment is a clear signal of our intent to continue leading in these key areas for the Nissan brand, with our crossover and electric vehicle success founded on the exceptional quality and delivery standards achieved by our workforce here in Sunderland,” he added.
Weighing 2,500 tonnes and 10.5m in height, a programme of engineering work is now under way ahead of SOP (start of production). A deep 6.5m pit is currently being excavated for the foundations.
Nissan has capacity to build 60,000 Infiniti cars in the North-East per year. About half of them will be exported to Europe when production starts later this year.
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