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Nissan Sunderland to relaunch third shift

Nissan is to launch a temporary third production shift at its manufacturing plant in Sunderland in response to demand for its Qashqai model.

A nightshift will be added to the Qashqai production line in May. Although the market will dictate how long the nightshift remains in operation, it is expected to be maintained for around six months.

To support this, recruitment will begin next month for 400 new fixed-term manufacturing posts at the plant and allow retention of an existing 160 temporary staff.

Nissan first implemented a temporary nightshift at Sunderland in June 2008 to satisfy unprecedented demand for the model. This was withdrawn last January in response to the global economic crisis.

The latest forecast for the 2009 financial year (ending March 31) anticipates more than 200,000 Qashqai sales in Europe, making it Nissan’s best-selling model.

Trevor Mann, Nissan senior vice president for manufacturing, Europe said: "Nissan is committed to delivering customers’ cars as quickly as possible, and our staff in Sunderland has been working incredibly hard to achieve this.

"However, Qashqai continues to buck the trend of a generally depressed market, and we have now identified the need for an additional shift to cover a high volume request in the first half of the 2010 financial year.

"Doing so will allow us to get cars to our customers more quickly and also provide the significant increase to production needed to fill the delivery pipeline to our European dealer network."

Since the Qashqai’s launch in March 2007, more than half a million units have been sold across Europe, and the model accounted for 60% of Sunderland’s 2009 total production volume of 338,000 cars.

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