March 9, 2020 @ 16:50 by Richard Dawson
Nissan has unveiled a new £52 million press line in its Sunderland plant as the firm prepares to start production of its next generation Qashqai car.
The XL press, which weighs over 2,000 tonnes and has taken 18 months to install, is part of the firm’s £400 million investment with the aim of getting facilities ready for the new model.
The Qashqai, which was introduced in 2006, is the most popular car that the plant currently makes.
Nissan chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta said: “When the first Nissan Qashqai rolled off the line in Sunderland in 2006 it created the crossover segment.
“Designed, engineered and made in the UK, and more than three million vehicles later, it remains the benchmark, just as our team in the UK continues to set the standard for productivity and quality.”
The £52 million investment has funded the installation of a new recycling system to sort and process scrap, as well as upgrades to the current blanking line, which supplies sheets of metal to the press.
The new press will be able to stamp over 6.1 million panels every year, with the capability to apply a maximum combined force of 5,400 tonnes with accuracy.
After the opening ceremony, the first panel to roll off the line was a fender for a Juke, another Nissan model made in Sunderland that will be produced by the press.
Steve Marsh, vice president, manufacturing, at Nissan Sunderland Plant, said: “Watching the first perfect panels coming off the press was a proud moment, and is a reflection of the tremendous skills we have here on Wearside.
“Juke is an iconic model and I know I speak for the whole plant in saying how proud we are to see the fantastic new version out on the roads, and that we are determined to keep delivering it to the quality levels our customers have come to expect.”
The latest £400 million investment for the Qashqai follows the £100 million put into plant for the production of the Juke last year, forming the first parts of more than £1 billion worth of investment planned for the Sunderland site in the next five years.