Qashqai #1m will be given away in a competition

Qashqai #1m will be given away in a competition

Nissan's Sunderland plant in north east England on Tuesday completed the one millionth Qashqai [Dualis] crossover four years, six months and 23 days after first generation production began on 5 December, 2006. No other UK-built car has reached the million mark in such a short time, the automaker claimed.

The silver, two-litre diesel, Tekna-trim vehicle will now go on display at The O2 Arena in London (once known as the Millennium Dome) and will eventually be given away in a competition.

The production milestone came two weeks after Nissan Motor president and CEO, Carlos Ghosn, announced that the next version of the Qashqai will also be designed, engineered and built in the UK, taking the automaker's investment in the UK for the model past GBP422m.

Future Qashqai production will safeguard the jobs of 6,000 people at Nissan and in the UK supply chain, the automaker said.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, head of UK manufacturing, said: “The Qashqai has been a phenomenal success since its start of production just four and a half years ago. Qashqai was a real crossover pioneer and producing 1m in such a short space of time is a fantastic achievement, not just by staff at the Sunderland plant but also by the designers and engineers who developed such a popular car and our dealer network who have helped to generate such high demand.”

Paul Everitt, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “The UK is home to some of the world’s most productive automotive facilities making cars that are in demand across the globe. Landmarks such as today’s announcement from Nissan serve to reinforce this, demonstrating the importance of manufacturing to our economy and its contribution to an export-led recovery.”

Manufactured on Line 1 at Sunderland, the Qashqai has been one of Nissan's most successful products to date. A third shift was launched in June 2008 to meet demand for the crossover, allowing 24-hour production. This was withdrawn in January 2009, in response to the global financial crisis, then reinstated in May 2010. Since then the plant has been working round the clock to meet demand.

On average, 1,200 Qashqais per day are produced at the plant, or one every minute that the line is working. Over 80% of Qashqai production is exported to 97 markets worldwide - as far as Australia - from the Port of Tyne.

The Qashqai is one of the UK’s top 10 best-selling cars and was the fourth best-selling model in the C-segment across Europe in the 2010 fiscal year. Its top five markets were the UK, Italy, Germany, Spain and France.

Sunderland Plant also produces the Note mini-MPV and the Juke compact crossover on Line 2 and will manufacture the electric Leaf from 2013.

Two other models have previously passed the million mark at Sunderland Plant – the Micra (2.3m units from 1992-2010) and the Primera (1.4m from 1990-2007).

The Sunderland plant was established in 1984 and production began in 1986. Total investment so far is GBP3.3bn and total unit volume since 1986 is over 6m units. In 2010 81% of production was exported to 97 markets. It currently employs around 5,000 people.