Sunderland's Nissan plant to build new electric Qashqai model
The new electric model of the Nissan Qashqai looks set to be built at the firm’s Wearside plant.
It is understood the Sunderland site will produce the new e-POWER model – a hybrid vehicle – in the wake of a £400million investment in the car, its most popular model, with that cash boost including a £52 million XL press line.
The line was unveiled earlier this year as the car giant said it was gearing up to build an update of the Qashqai.
Staff at the site, which employs 6,000 people and supports 18,000 supply chain jobs, have been told the news, which comes after the company confirmed its e-POWER vehicles would be put into production in Europe, but not where the vehicles would be produced.
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While the new model, to be built alongside a petrol version, will not generate new jobs, news of its production should support the site's future.
A company spokesperson said: “Since the launch of the Nissan LEAF in 2010 we have been proud to be leading the electrification of the automotive industry.
"Building on the success of LEAF, we have already announced that e-POWER – Nissan’s unique electrified powertrain - will be coming to Europe by 2022.
“We announced as part of our Nissan NEXT transformation plan that we expect electrified vehicles to represent half of our sales in Europe by the end of 2023, and that ambition remains unchanged.”
The firm’s e-POWER vehicles use an electric motor drive and a petrol engine to charge a battery, offering better fuel efficiency, with its IMQ concept crossover – a hybrid car – unveiled last year.
The company’s NEXT transformation plan looks to the expectation electrified vehicles will represent half of its sales in Europe by the end of 2023.
The XL press, which weighs 2,000-plus tonnes and took 18 months to install, is part of a £400 million investment by Nissan in readiness for the new Qashqai, which will be the third-generation of the pioneering crossover.
That investment comes on top of the £100 million invested for the launch of new Juke, and is part of an overall £1 billion planned investment into the plant by Nissan over five years.
To support certain elements of the funding, it received help from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy.