Nissan has unveiled its new Qashqai model in Paris. Described as a compact crossover, the Qashqai will be built at its Sunderland plant in the UK from December, with sales starting in January.

Code-named P32L, the Qashqai is the first model to be designed by the new Nissan Design Europe centre in Paddington, London. The development work was conducted at the Nissan Technical Centre, in Cranfield, also in the UK, while engineering support came from Japan.

Nissan says that it describes the model as crossover because it crosses over with a 4x4, with top half reminiscent of a car and lower portion an SUV. In terms of size the Qashqai sits between C-segment hatchbacks and SUVs. It has a wheelbase of 2630mm, it is 1610mm tall, 1780mm wide and 4310mm long. It is about 100mm longer than a typical hatchback but 150mm shorter than a typical SUV. Similarly, it is taller than rival hatchbacks by between 100-150mm yet up to 130mm lower than an SUV.

Four engine options will be available, two diesel and two petrol offerings. The 1.6-litre petrol offers 115PS of power and 160Nm of torque, while the 2.0-litre produces 140PS and 200Nm. The diesel engine options - 1.5- and 2.0-litre - provide 106 and 150PS and 240 and 320Nm of torque respectively.

Several gearbox options are available, according to engine choice. These include a five- and six-speed manual, a new six-speed automatic and a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) option with manual mode.

Speaking at the launch event in Paris, Mr Ghosn said that Nissan expects to sell more than 100,000 units a year across Europe with 80% of 80% of those customers buying a Nissan for the first time.

The car will also be exported outside of Europe where it will be named Dualis.

Production plans call for 130,000 cars to be built each year. The Qashqai will be the fourth model produced at the plant alongside the Micra, Almera and Note. No capacity expansion is needed at the plant since it ceased producing the Primera. Sunderland's total annual output will remain at 400,000 units.

Around 100 new trainees will be taken on and a further 200 new temporary jobs created. Nissan received a £5m grant from the UK's Department of Trade & Industry to develop and manufacture the model.