Nissan's UK plant will begin 'round-the-clock' production when a third shift that created 800 new jobs goes to work on Sunday night.

Nissan said the third shift would help the Sunderland plant meet continued demand for the current Qashqai five seat crossover and expected demand for the new seven seat Qashqai +2 version that will be launched at a motor show in London in July.

Production starts in August sales across Europe begin in September.

Trevor Mann, Nissan's senior vice president of manufacturing in Europe, said: "Qashqai has proven so popular that we need to increase our volume to significantly more than 200,000 cars this year.

"The introduction of a third shift is a large commitment by Nissan in its UK operation, and will allow Sunderland to better meet the unprecedented and ongoing customer demand for this car, and also for Qashqai +2."

The plant in north-east England received 10 applications for each of the 800 new night shift jobs.

Each has completed a week's induction, including basic skills instruction, plant familiarisation, and health and safety training.

The recruitment process, one of the biggest in the plant's history [it opened in 1986], also included comprehensive skills testing and production line trials.

All recruits will work on the Qashqai production line, which currently manufactures around 4,500 cars per week. This will rise to around 6,100 once the third shift is running at full volume.

Nissan president and CEO, Carlos Ghosn, visited the plant earlier this month to announce that a new compact car would be made there from 2010.