The new Qashqai project will safeguard 6,000 jobs, both direct and indirect through the UK supply chain, and represents a £192m investment in Britain and is being funded entirely by Nissan.
It will build on the success of the current Qashqai which is the highest-volume car produced in the UK with export levels of around 80 per cent.
The first stage of development will see the new version of the pioneering crossover styled at Nissan’s European Design Centre in Paddington, London.
Once the design is finalised, engineers from the Nissan Technical Centre Europe in Cranfield, Bedfordshire will take hold of the project. The completed car will be built in the company’s Sunderland manufacturing facility.
Making the announcement outside 10 Downing Street, Carlos Ghosn, the president and chief executive officer of Nissan Motor Co., said: ‘The UK has been a cornerstone of Nissan manufacturing since 1986, with the Sunderland plant setting important benchmarks for quality and efficiency in Europe and around the world.
‘It’s the home of the Qashqai, one of Nissan’s biggest product successes. And as Nissan’s leadership in sustainable transportation grows, the plant will become one of the pillars of our zero-emission manufacturing.’
Nissan’s Sunderland plant will produce its one millionth Qashqai later this month and more than 80 per cent of current production is exported to 97 markets worldwide.
In addition, Nissan is also investing £420m in Sunderland plant for the production of the LEAF from 2013 and in a new stand-alone facility to make lithium-ion batteries for both Renault and Nissan vehicles from 2012.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: ‘This investment from Nissan is fantastic news and a great demonstration of the strength and vitality of the UK car industry. That future manufacturing and R&D has been secured is a tribute to the skill, expertise and hard work of Nissan’s UK workforce.
‘It is vital that we have a strong manufacturing base to rebalance our economy and secure sustainable economic growth, and it is this Government’s determination that we do all we can to enable businesses to invest, to grow and create jobs.
‘I have seen first hand the tremendous work at the Nissan Sunderland plant; this is a great day for them, the whole of the North East and for UK manufacturing too.’