Nissan reported that it cannot keep pace with the continued growth of the crossover market created with Qashqai, evident despite record volumes of 300,000 cars produced every year at the Sunderland site.
The Wearside plant continues to produce around 1,200 Qashqais every day, and by the end of February 2016 the total stood at 2,398,134 units. No other car in the history of the UK car industry has gone beyond 2m units in such a short period of time.
With production carried out at Line 1 in Sunderland, Nissan engineers are now preparing to modify Line 2 to introduce additional Qashqai manufacturing.
The first additional vehicles are scheduled for production in before the end of 2016, ahead of the next phase in Qashqai’s development in 2017 when it becomes the first Nissan in Europe to feature autonomous ‘Piloted Drive’ technology.
Colin Lawther, Nissan’s Senior Vice President for Manufacturing, Purchasing and Supply Chain Management in Europe, said: “When the first Qashqai came off the line in 2006 it created the crossover segment. Today it remains the benchmark for European customers for its dynamic styling, exciting driving experience and innovative technology.
“Through innovative engineering and productivity improvements, my colleagues in Sunderland have broken production records to keep pace with demand, but our new generation Qashqai has reached a tipping point.”
Nissan is this year celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Sunderland facility, which has grown to become the largest UK car plant of all-time, supporting nearly 40,000 UK jobs and manufacturing one in three of all cars made in Britain.
Colin added: “This additional capacity will give us free supply of Qashqai for the first time, ahead of the launch of a refreshed Qashqai equipped with Piloted Drive technology from next year.”
Thanks to Nissan’s UK-based design and technical centres, vehicles like Qashqai are designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK and exported from Sunderland to over 130 markets.