This £37-million investment will see the plant extended and a new 5,200-tonne
press installed, supporting ongoing UK production of Nissan's best-selling Qashqai and Juke crossovers, the Nissan Note and the all-electric Nissan Leaf.
"Nearly 3-million customers have bought a Nissan crossover that was manufactured here in the UK, and the 33,000 Nissan Leafs made here have helped it to become the best-selling electric vehicle in history," said Colin Lawther, Nissan's Senior Vice-President for Manufacturing, Purchasing and Supply Chain Management in Europe.
"This fresh investment is a clear signal of our intent to continue leading in these key areas for the Nissan brand, with our crossover and electric vehicle success founded on the exceptional quality and delivery standards achieved by our workforce here in Sunderland."
Going into production in 2017, the new press line and panel storage area requires a building extension totalling 6,780 m², taking the total built up space on site over 362,000 m², the equivalent of more than 50 football pitches.
To be built alongside the existing seven press lines in Sunderland, the new line will be the biggest at Sunderland and the first of its type in the Renault-Nissan Alliance, pressing panels with a total force of 5,200-tonnes.
Weighing approximately 2,500-tonnes and 10.5 m in height, a programme of engineering work is now under way ahead of the scheduled start of production in 2017, with a 6.5 m deep 'pit' currently being excavated for the foundations.
The new press line will make larger panels for all the Nissan vehicles produced in Sunderland, and will also provide panels for two forthcoming compact Infiniti models, the Infiniti Q30 and Infiniti QX30.
"This is great news for Nissan and its Sunderland workforce and follows more than £1-billion of fresh investment into UK vehicle production already announced this year. UK automotive is experiencing a renaissance and continued investments like this will help Britain build on its growing reputation for low-carbon vehicle development. With commitment to both electric vehicles and crossovers, this is also an example of a manufacturer investing in two market segments which are seeing strong growth both in the UK and abroad," said Mike Hawes, CEO, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT),