Last year was the 30th anniversary of the Nissan plant in Sunderland. It opened in 1986 and has seen a huge number of vehicles roll off its production line. Starting out with a version of the Stanza that featured a Bluebird badge, various models have been made at the site including the Micra, Almera, and Note. More recently it has produced the popular Qashqai and Leaf models.
Nissan recently revealed their production figures for 2016. In total they produced an impressive 507,430 vehicles at the Sunderland plant. This took the total number for the facility closer to 9 million, an incredible figure after 30 years in operation.
Surprisingly producing over half a million vehicles was not enough to make Nissan the highest producer in the UK. Jaguar Land Rover held this honour for the second consecutive year by producing 544,401 vehicles.
The Japanese car giant has responded to falling behind by promising even more investment. Funds will be invested to allow the production of new vehicles, including a new generation of the Qashqai. With the next wave of investments the total invested in the Sunderland plant will exceed £4 billion.
Amongst the most surprising things that Nissan has invested in at the facility is renewable energy. The site is home to ten wind turbines and 2016 saw the installation of 19,000 solar panels. In total 7% of the electricity used by the plant is generated from renewables.
The number of motor industry jobs that Nissan supports across the UK is incredible. The total is over 40,000 along the supply chain, including 8,000 at various facilities and 4,000 in a network of dealerships. With further investments could come even more jobs created in 2017 and beyond.
It will be very interesting to see how Jaguar Land Rover react to Nissan’s investments and attempts to retake the title of UK’s leading vehicle producer. It could see them also creating more motor industry jobs. The competition between the two giants is definitely good for the UK economy and the labour market.