Preparations for the next generation Qashqai have stepped up a gear with the unveiling of a new £52m extra-large press line at Nissan Sunderland.
Weighing over 2,000 tonnes, the new press is said to have taken 18 months to install and is part of a £400m investment by Nissan in readiness for the new, third-generation crossover SUV.
The first specially commissioned panels on the press were produced on March 6, 2020, at a ceremony led by Ashwani Gupta, Nissan’s COO.
“When the first Nissan Qashqai rolled off the line in Sunderland in 2006 it created the crossover segment,” Gupta said in a statement. “Designed, engineered and made in the UK, and more than three million vehicles later, it remains the benchmark, just as our team in the UK continues to set the standard for productivity and quality.”
The £53m investment in the press includes a recycling system to segregate and process scrap, and upgrades to the existing blanking line which will supply flat blanks to the extra-large press, which will stamp over six million vehicle panels a year.
Steve Marsh, Vice President, Manufacturing, at Nissan Sunderland Plant, said: “Watching the first perfect panels coming off the press was a proud moment, and is a reflection of the tremendous skills we have here on Wearside.
“Juke is an iconic model. I know I speak for the whole plant in saying how proud we are to see the fantastic new version out on the roads.”
Commenting on the investment, Steve Bush, Unite union’s national officer for the automotive industry said: “The reaffirmation of this already announced investment of £400m in a new production press at the Sunderland plant is a welcome confidence booster for the 6,000-strong workforce.
“In challenging economic times, such investment by Nissan is warmly welcomed and a big vote of confidence in the world class, highly skilled workforce that has an excellent record in producing world-class cars.”
According to Nissan, the £400m invested for Qashqai comes on top of the £100m invested for the launch of new Juke and is part of an overall £1bn planned investment into the Sunderland plant over five years.