April 2, 2020 @ 21:49 by Steven Hugill
Nissan has extended a production suspension at its Sunderland plant as it battles the coronavirus outbreak.
The car maker says work will be postponed until at least the end of April.
The decision follows a previous move to pause production in mid-March.
Bosses say the majority of workers will be furloughed, under the Government’s Job Retention Scheme, adding the suspension will help the firm “navigate through this crisis while maintaining activities critical for business continuity.”
Work across the company’s Spanish sites also remains on pause.
A spokesperson said: “Nissan is grateful for the financial assistance offered by national governments to support our 15,000 direct employees in Europe, our partner companies and suppliers.
“Our goal is to navigate through this crisis while maintaining activities critical for business continuity and to make sure we are prepared for the time when business resumes in Europe and we can welcome the Nissan team back to work.
“The company is following all advice from national governments and has implemented a range of measures to ensure the welfare of employees and communities.
“Additionally, Nissan is ready to support any initiatives where its manufacturing and engineering expertise can be useful.”
Prior to its Sunderland suspension, the company revealed a £52 million investment in a new press line, which bosses at the time said would ensure the Wearside plant kept “delivering the quality levels customers expect”.
With capacity to stamp more than six million vehicle panels every year, the press will support impending work on Nissan’s next generation Qashqai, which has become the flagship model for the firm’s Sunderland factory and is one of the UK’s best-selling cars.
Nissan also makes the Juke hatchback and the all-electric Leaf on Wearside.