Nissan’s Sunderland factory in north east England will produce a new ‘mid-sized’ hatchback in 2014 as the automaker returns to the C-segment abandoned in favour of the Qashqai crossover in 2006.

This follows the announcement at last month’s Geneva motor show that Sunderland would also produce a mainstream B-segment compact car based on the Invitation concept from next year.

The new medium hatchback will create an additional 225 jobs at the plant and 900 at suppliers.

Combined, both new models will result in over 3,000 new jobs being created in the UK automotive sector within the next two years – 625 at the automaker and the remainder at suppliers.

The workforce will eventually number 6,225 supporting an overall annual plant volume of over half a million units.

The new hatchback, which will be named closer to launch, marks Nissan’s return to the mainstream medium C-segment in Europe and will play a major role in the company’s continued expansion under the ambitious ‘Nissan Power 88’ mid-term plan.

Nissan’s last entrant in the class was the Almera, effectively replaced by the Qashqai crossover.

Production capacity for the new model will be around 80,000 units triggering the need for the plant to add an additional shift. This will see both production lines operating ‘around the clock’ for the first time in the plant’s 26-year history, a move which will take manufacturing capacity beyond 550,000 units.

The new hatchback represents an additional GBP127m investment by Nissan in its Sunderland operation and is supported by an offer of GBP8.2m regional growth fund from the UK government.

Nissan is also adding the Leaf EV at Sunderland in 2013 and building a battery plant.

Chief operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga said: “In Europe Nissan has achieved record growth in recent years by providing innovative, customer-focused models like Qashqai and Juke that are designed, developed and produced within the region.

“Nissan already produces more vehicles in Europe than any other Asian manufacturer and the model announced today will bring world-class quality and leading technology to our customers at the heart of the European C-segment.

“I would also like to thank the UK government for its strong and sustained support which allows us to continue making significant, long-term investment in our Sunderland operation.”