The coupe + cabriolet version of the Nissan Micra is now confirmed for production and will go on sale in Europe in 2005.

Nissan is investing £95 million (€140 million) for the new car, covering design at London-based Nissan Design Europe (NDE), development at the Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) in Bedfordshire, and production at Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd (NMUK) in Sunderland. The Department of Trade and Industry has also awarded NMUK a Regional Selective Assistance grant totalling £3.26 million (€4.8 million).

Mario Canavesi, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Nissan Europe said: 'This new version of the Micra will be Nissan's first European-built coupe-cabriolet, and will be a great addition to the product line-up. It will retain the best elements of the existing Micra - attractive design, driving enjoyment and utility. It will also offer the pleasure of open-top motoring combined with the security and practicality of an all-weather hard-top folding roof.'

Production will begin in autumn 2005, with initial production forecasts set at 20,000 units per year. A team of 250 people will be dedicated to its production at the Sunderland plant, including a number from the existing 4500 workforce.

The new coupe + cabriolet is being developed by NTCE in Bedfordshire, in close collaboration with Karmann, the German coachbuilder renowned for its expertise in roof systems and niche vehicles.

As far as possible, the new car will be built on the same line as the Micra at the Sunderland plant. Karmann will install an on-site sub-assembly facility for the production of the roof system and boot lid. These will be supplied to NMUK as complete modules, which will then be fitted off-line by NMUK employees working in a separate zone located within Final Assembly.

Colin Dodge, Managing Director of Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd, and Senior Vice President of Manufacturing at Nissan Europe said: 'On behalf of Nissan, I would like to extend my thanks to the Department of Trade and Industry whose continued support for the company and the northeast region has made this project possible. It is now up to our designers, engineers, and production staff in collaboration with our suppliers to successfully bring the product to the market.'

The new car will be a redesigned version of the Micra C+C concept first shown at the Paris Motorshow in 2002. Like the show car, it will have a retractable hard top and a 2+2 seating arrangement.