13 September 2015

UK Car Industry: Nissan #1

Nissan was a popular brand in Britain way back in the 1970's, reaching 4th best selling make in 1977. By 1984, Nissan agreed to build a plant at Sunderland, the deal sealed with an assurance of tax-free purchase of industrial machinery which would soften the high initial set up costs. However, a 1984 budget proposal would stop that and put the venture at risk. Mrs Thatcher stepped in and the deal was saved. It may never have happened otherwise.

Margaret Thatcher ensured Nissan Sunderland went ahead

In 1986, the first car rolled off the line and 8 million have since, built to a very high quality. I believe there has been no industrial stoppages either. Each worker is trained in three jobs on the assembly line to stop boredom and allow workers to cover for each other when necessary. When demand is high, the factory runs at 24 hours a day, such flexibility so advantageous to Nissan Europe.

It is home to Nissan's only Global Training Centre outside Japan. It is the UK's largest car producer for 15 years running, the biggest car exporter for 13 consecutive years and the fastest car plant in UK automotive history to reach the million mark with one model (the Nissan Qashqai). To see car production by model for Nissan Sunderland, simply click here.

The Nissan Qashqai taking the long way home

Nissan Technical Centre Europe is based in Cranfield, UK and Nissan Design Europe is based in the centre of London. It has led the design process for models such as Qashqai (Rogue) and Juke. About 280,000 car engines were also built by Nissan UK in 2014. Infiniti cars will be rolling off the production line in early 2016 as well, the Q30 model for global markets.

The Infiniti Q30 to be produced at Sunderland for the global market

By any yardstick, Nissan's achievements in the UK are amazing. It's not hard to see that Nissan views the UK as an important and integral part of the Nissan global company. The importance of Nissan to the UK can not be over estimated, yet many citizens wouldn't know or as the British say 'give a monkey's' about it. Still, they benefit greatly anyway.

Production share of the UK total: 32.7%. UK value rating: 8/10.

The series continues with Land Rover (found here).

Nissan hitting a high note with its Sunderland operation