Nissan hopes new Juke crossover will be as successful as big brother Qashqai

Nissan hopes new Juke crossover will be as successful as big brother Qashqai

Nissan’s Sunderland plant in north east England today celebrates the production launch of the new Juke compact sports crossover.

The model looks set to continue the success of the larger Qashqai which attracted waiting lists that lasted some considerable time. Nissan has already received over 22,500 pre-orders across Europe since the Juke 'books' opened in June.

The plant expects to produce up to 100,000 units each year making it the plant’s second highest volume model behind the larger crossover.

The Note and seven seat Qashqai +2 complete the plant's current model line-up for now but the Leaf electric car is confirmed for production from early 2013 as is an adjacent battery plant to supply it.

Nissan spent GBP57m (US$88m) on the factory to prepare it for the Juke. The model replaces the Micra - now built in Thailand and India with two more sources to come on stream - and safeguards 1,100 jobs directly at the plant and an estimated 2,000 additional posts at suppliers. A GBP6.2m grant for business investment from the UK government also supported the project.

Nissan is hoping the plant will build 400,000 units in the 2010 financial year which would be a record.

Nissan Europe manufacturing chief Trevor Mann said: “Congratulations to the Sunderland workforce for earning the right to produce what is their sixth new model in eight years. I would also like to thank both national and local government for their support, as well as the continued efforts of our all our suppliers.”

Sunderland will ramp up to full Juke volume in a plant record of two weeks, ensuring European dealers are fully stocked and ready for the car’s start of sales in late September.

The majority of vehicles produced in Sunderland will be exported to mainland Europe with the remainder destined for dealers across the UK and Ireland. One version comes from Nissan's plant in Oppama, Japan, which is also producing the line for domestic, the US and other export markets. The Qashqai was initially made only in the UK but was so successful lines had to be opened in Japan and China.

Sunderland production began in 1986 with the Stanza-based Bluebird and Nissan has spent GBP2.68bn there to date. The unit count so far is 5.6m and 338,000 cars were made in 2009. The 4,900 employees assembled one in three cars made in the UK last year and the factory is both the country's largest car producer and exporter.