Nissan expands axle shop

Nissan is to create 128 jobs at its plant in Sunderland in response to the continued sales success of the Qashqai.

In January, Nissan announced that the plant had launched one of its largest ever recruitment campaigns to hire 800 staff, ahead of the implementation of a third production shift in June.

The plant is now looking to recruit extra staff as its axle production shop undergoes a £5m expansion to support a significant increase in Qashqai volume. Of the 128 posts needed to staff the new axle operation, 50 are in addition to the 800 previously announced.

Since its launch in March 2007, nearly 150,000 units of the car have been sold across Europe, and there is currently a customer order bank of 54,000.

This level of demand led Sunderland to announce the introduction of an extra production shift this summer on one of its two manufacturing lines, allowing the plant to ramp up Qashqai production to over 200,000 cars per year.

Trevor Mann, senior vice president, manufacturing and supply chain management, Nissan Europe said: ‘To prepare for the planned substantial increase in Qashqai volume in the 2008 financial year, Nissan is expanding certain operations at its Sunderland plant.

The axle shop produces axle assemblies exclusively for Qashqai. The investment will double the shop’s original installed capacity to around 270,000 assemblies per year once full production is achieved from November 2008. It will also increase the shop’s total headcount from 155 to over 280.

The Qashqai was designed at Nissan Design Europe, situated in Paddington, London, while technical development was undertaken at its technical centre in Cranfield, England.

In May last year, the car was awarded the maximum five-star rating for adult occupant protection from the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), with the highest ever-recorded score for any vehicle.