This week in 2008: Nissan jobs boost

This issue’s story from the archives could be from a different era. With European demand spiralling for Nissan’s Qashqai SUV, The Engineer reported on the automaker’s plans to recruit 800 more staff


Although only a year old, this issue’s story from the archives could be from a different era. With European demand spiralling for Nissan’s Qashqai SUV, The Engineer reported on the automaker’s plans to recruit 800 more staff and implement a third production shift at its Sunderland manufacturing plant.

‘Since its European launch in March 2007, sales of the Qashqai have reached 130,000 units,’ we wrote. ‘Last June Nissan boosted production at Sunderland by 20 per cent to help meet demand. Nissan is now starting a recruitment campaign to deal with above-forecast orders.’ As late as September, production at the firm’s Sunderland plant was more than 30 per cent up on the same month in 2007. What a difference a year makes.

By the end of the 2008, barely more than half as many cars were built as in the previous December, and last month Nissan announced that it will be scaling back production and cutting the plant’s workforce by 30 per cent.

The Sunderland site, which remains the UK’s largest car plant, currently assembles the Nissan Micra, Qashqai and Qashqai+2. Production of the Micra is to stop when the next model shifts to India, and a new ‘baby Qashqai’ will take its place midway through 2010. Let us hope the next 12 months see a similarly swift — and infinitely more positive — reversal of fortunes.

Jon Excell