Nissan
is expected to announce that the next generation Almera hatchback will be assembled
at its factory near Sunderland in north-east England, according to the Independent.
The current Almera is produced there with the bulk of production exported to Europe.

Nissan is also considering building a new UK production line to assemble the
next-generation Almera Tino minivan, due in 2005, the newspaper said.

This would involve moving assembly from a factory in Barcelona, Spain, which
is in the ‘eurozone’ but less productive than the UK operation.

The expected decision, coming soon after the UK government offered Nissan a
European Union regional development grant worth £40 million, will increase
output at the UK assembly plant from 330,000 to 500,000 units per year, safeguarding
1,200 jobs.

Nissan has also promised to invest £234 million ($US340 million) and
create 500 more jobs, the Independent said.

The newspaper added that the news was leaked over the weekend by industry sources
in an effort to capitalise on Nissan’s decision last month to produce the next
generation Micra at the Washington factory.