Nissan Europe has again picked its Sunderland, north-east England, factory to build its segment-pioneering Juke model. The automaker did not announce a production start date for the redesigned, second generation model line but just-auto expects this early in 2017. The decision, the automaker said, "points to a secure future for both production lines in Sunderland and the jobs of 34,000 people currently employed by Nissan and its British suppliers beyond 2020".
Sunderland output of the current model began five years ago, supplementing production in Oppama, Japan, from which Nissan Europe imports certain variants and builds the rest in England. There is also local assembly at the the Purwakarta plant in Indonesia.
In a statement, the automaker said: "The estimated GBP100m (US$153m) investment is a further endorsement of the quality of output from the Sunderland plant, and a statement of Nissan’s intention to remain the undisputed crossover leader.
"Following the launch of the second generation Nissan Qashqai in 2013, future Juke allocation points to a secure future for both production lines in Sunderland and the jobs of 34,000 people currently employed by Nissan and its British suppliers beyond 2020.
Nissan Europe chairman, Paul Willcox added: “The Juke’s unique design is one of the reasons Nissan is now the undisputed crossover leader, underpinning five consecutive years of sales growth in Europe.
“With the next generation Juke now confirmed for future production, customers can be assured that Nissan is going to remain the benchmark in the crossover segment for many years to come.
“This announcement also gives security to our Sunderland plant beyond 2020, which the team has earned through many years of hard work and their ability to continually raise the bar on quality.”
Interviewed by Sky News on Thursday (3 September), Willcox said the company had not received any additional state or local government subsidy for the Juke build project. Asked about the potential effect of any future government decision to withdraw from the EU (following a planned referendum) he said the automaker had committed to England until 2020.
The automaker said its European design centre in Paddington, London, and European engineering headquarters in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, will be instrumental in the development of this new model – ensuring the European customer needs and taste are incorporated into the second generation Juke.
The UK’s chancellor of the exchequer [finance minister], George Osborne, said: “It’s fantastic news that Nissan will be building their new car here in Sunderland and securing valuable jobs for thousands of working people in the area. Our ambitious plan to build the Northern Powerhouse means building on the area’s strengths – including manufacturing – and this announcement is an important sign of Britain being chosen as a global leader in car production.”
The Juke is built on line two in Sunderland. The plant also makes the Qashqai, a C-segment crossover pioneer now in its second generation, the 'generation 1.5' European specification Leaf EV and the B-segment Note MPV. Production of the Infiniti Q30, finally detailed in production form this week and due for public launch at the Frankfurt show this month, is due to begin later this year.
Nissan said the Juke's success had led to Sunderland achieving 500,000 volumes in each of the past three years, with 80% of output exported to over 130 markets.
The next generation Juke is the first model to be confirmed for the Renault-Nissan Alliance Common Module Family (CMF)-B architecture.
Backing up its claim of Sunderland quality, Nissan points to the JD Power UK Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) of owner reported problems experienced during the first three years of vehicle ownership which ranked the Juke as the top small car and the Nissan brand fourth overall for vehicle dependability.
Nissan is now the biggest carmaker in the history of the UK car industry, with annual output exceeding 500,000 in each of the last three years. It emplys 8,000 people in its local design, engineering, sales and manufacturing operations, supporting an additional 27,000 jobs in the UK supply chain plus 3,900 in dealerships.