Nissan's Sunderland has started production of its latest model, the seven-seater Qashqai+2.
The model brings the total number of new model launches at Sunderland within the last five years to five. And earlier this year, Nissan’s CEO and president, Carlos Ghosn, confirmed a new compact crossover car will be produced at Sunderland in 2010.
European sales of the original Qashqai have now topped 235,000 since its launch in March 2007 and Nissan hopes to boost sales when the seven seat version goes on sale next month.
In June, 850 new posts were created to support the introduction of a third production shift at Sunderland to help meet customer demand for the five-seat Qashqai, as well as expected demand for the new version.
Together, Qashqai and Qashqai+2 represent £223 million of investment including design, research & development, vendor tooling and plant preparation.
Trevor Mann, senior vice president for Nissan manufacturing in Europe, said: “Qashqai has experienced unprecedented success in Europe and we are now looking forward to building on this with the launch of Qashqai+2.
“In total, we expect our production target for both versions of Qashqai to be around 270,000 cars in the 2008 financial year, but of course this depends on the market. This level of volume will contribute to another record production year at our Sunderland plant with an estimated 450,000 vehicles coming off the line.”
Deliveries of Qashqai+2 will begin on September 18 with prices ranging from £17,199 for the two-wheel drive 2.0 litre petrol Visia to £23,799 for the top spec four-wheel drive Tekna 2.0 litre diesel.