Nissan's launch of Qashqai model fuels car industry revival in United Kingdom
By Julien Mivielle, AFP
January 27, 2014, 12:26 am TWN
SUNDERLAND, United Kingdom--Japanese carmaker Nissan officially launched production of its new Qashqai model last week, coinciding with a renaissance for Britain's car manufacturing industry that is set to smash records in the coming years.
The second-generation version of the car is being built at Nissan's main European plant in Sunderland, northeastern England, boosting employment at Britain's biggest car plant.
The Qashqai, designed in Nissan's London headquarters and originally launched in 2006, is a crossover that combines elements of a sports utility vehicle and a hatchback, and is the Japanese firm's best-selling car in Europe.
"The Nissan Qashqai blazed a trail when we started production in 2006," Nissan's chief performance officer Trevor Mann told journalists gathered at a launch event in Sunderland on Wednesday.
"It invented the crossover segment, propelled the Nissan brand in Europe to a new level and helped our plant in Sunderland to set new standards in productivity and quality."
Nissan hand-picked Sunderland in 1984 as the location for the facility, which now makes four different models — the Leaf, the Note, the Juke and the Qashqai — and has produced a total of one million vehicles over the last two years.
Since the Qashqai was launched, around 1.75 million units have rolled off the production line at Sunderland.
Nissan, partner of France's Renault, boasts that the facility now produces one Qashqai every 61 seconds and exports the crossover car to 132 countries across the globe.
"We have sold Qashqais made in Sunderland to customers from Abu Dhabi to the Congo, from Bermuda to Burkina Faso," added Mann.