It has been reported that Nissan is bidding to cut costs by moving to 24-hr assembly. Such a move, reported in yesterday's Financial Times would, if implemented, raise capacity at the north east plant to 500,000 cars a year. It would become the largest UK car producer. Already the most productive factory in Europe, Sunderland's bid to be selected as the production base for the new Micra has had profitability hit by the weakness of the euro. The FT said that senior factory managers believe changes to a 3-shift, 24-hr production pattern are vital if Sunderland is to be chosen as the factory to build the new car, especially in view of the current exchange rates.