In 2011 the plant made a total of 480,485 vehicles, dwarfing the 2010 total of 423,262 vehicles, which itself was the first time any UK car plant had ever made more than 400,000 cars in one year.
Demand for the Nissan Qashqai and Nissan Juke meant the plant exceeded that previous record on November 16. November itself was a record month for the plant with 46,606 vehicles made – the highest monthly total in the plant’s history.
Nissan’s leadership in the Crossover market was demonstrated by the production totals of its top-selling models Qashqai (244,298), Qashqai+2 (56,979) and Juke (132,606). In addition the plant made 46,602 units of the award-winning Nissan Note.
This new record reflects the first full calendar year in which there has been 24-hour production of the Qashqai and Qashqai+2 and was also the first full year of Juke production, which included the addition of a 4×4 Juke and the limited edition Juke Kuro.
Additionally, extra staff were hired at the plant to help meet the customer demand which led to Nissan achieving an all-time record European market share of 4.2 per cent in September.
The number of jobs at the plant also reached an all-time high with 5,462 people directly employed on site.
The year ahead…
The year ahead promises to be just as exciting, with Sunderland plant set to launch Nissan’s first lithium-ion battery production facility outside Japan and preparing for the start of Nissan LEAF production in 2013.
Nissan’s vice president for manufacturing in the UK, Kevin Fitzpatrick, said: ‘Our 25th anniversary year will go down in UK car production history and all our staff can be proud of the many milestones we have passed.
‘Our 26th year promises to be equally exciting, as we launch the new battery plant at Sunderland and prepare the plant for production of the 100 per cent electric Nissan LEAF alongside the Qashqai, Juke and Note.’
Other milestones reached in 2011 at Nissan Sunderland Plant included the production of the plant’s six millionth vehicle in January, then in June, Nissan’s Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn announced that the next generation of the Nissan Qashqai would be designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK – as the Qashqai became the fastest UK-made car in history to reach one million units.
The Qashqai was also updated in 2011 to include the most powerful 1.6 diesel engine in the world, replacing the previous 2.0 dCi with a more efficient engine that not only delivers lower emissions and considerably improved levels of fuel economy but which offers the same level of performance as the bigger engine.
Nissan’s Stop/Start System becomes available soon, which will see CO2 emissions drop to just 119 g/km. Qashqai is also the first C-segment car in the world to become available with Nissan’s Around View Monitor (AVM), designed to make parking as safe and as simple as possible.