The latest version of the crossover is now rolling off the plant’s production line as the plant celebrates 35 years of manufacturing in the UK.
Qashqai represents one in five of all cars built in Britain since its launch 14 years ago – and to celebrate the new generation model, Nissan is offering every school child in North East England the opportunity to take part in a Nissan Skills Foundation event – the company’s programme of activities designed to excite youngsters about careers in manufacturing and engineering.
Alan Johnson, Nissan vice president for manufacturing in the UK, said: “We know it has been a tough year for young people, so we’re using the launch of this next-generation car to step up our efforts to inspire the next-generation of manufacturing talent. We want every child in the North East of England to have the opportunity to be inspired by the Nissan Skills Foundation.”
Since the launch of the original model in 2007, Qashqai was the fastest UK car to reach one million, two million and three million units built, and more than 3.5 million have now been produced in Sunderland.
The team at the plant have undergone thousands of hours of training for the launch of Qashqai, which is designed, engineered and manufactured by Nissan in its UK facilities, supporting more than 7,000 jobs in Paddington, Maple Cross, Cranfield, Lutterworth and Sunderland, as well as a further 24,000 in the wider UK supply chain.
The Nissan Skills Foundation was founded in 2014 and is geared towards encouraging young people to take up careers in manufacturing. It has grown to include 10 bespoke activities for children aged seven to 18, as well as providing resources for regional schools to take part in international STEM competitions. To date, more than 65,000 young people from across the region have taken part in a Nissan Skills Foundation event.
Nissan has invested £400 million into the Sunderland plant to support third-generation Qashqai production. Key investments have included a £52 million second extra-large press line and scrap recycling system, called the Cyclone, which allows Qashqai to become the plant’s first model built largely from aluminium
Other new facility investments include 117 new robots for the plant’s body shop, working with both aluminium and the new ultra-high tensile steel that helps gives Qashqai its best-in-class safety performance.