11 million and counting: Nissan's Sunderland factory passes new milestone | CAR Magazine

11 million and counting: Nissan's Sunderland factory passes new milestone

Published: 08 June 2023 Updated: 08 June 2023

► Nissan Sunderland factory builds 11m cars
► Fastest UK car plant to reach milestone
► Founded in 1986: still going strong

The Nissan factory in Sunderland is celebrating a special production record: it’s just built its 11 millionth car, a silver Nissan Qashqai e-Power

Britain’s biggest car plant builds the Qashqai and Juke crossovers, as well as the Leaf electric car. The Qashqai remains in strong demand and was the UK’s bestselling car in 2022 – the first time that honour has befallen a British-built car for 24 years.

The Nissan Sunderland factory opened in 1986, at a time when Japanese car makers were attracted to the UK by its position in Europe, competitive tax rates and strong technical R&D know-how. Honda and Toyota followed suit, but the sector is under increasing pressure from Brexit and the lack of a cohesive government manufacturing strategy.

Join us on a detailed look around the Nissan Sunderland plant

Britain’s biggest car factory

Nissan’s first car to emerge from Sunderland was the Bluebird, which took 22 hours to manufacture. Today a Nissan Qashqai e-Power hybrid takes 8.5 hours, according to the company, reflecting increased mechanisation and efficiency. The factory employs 6000 staff and supports a further 30,000 jobs in the automotive supply chain.

On average, a new car has rolled off the line every two minutes, every day for 37 years: Sunderland has built nine different models, four of which – Qashqai, Micra, Primer and Juke – have gone on to sell more than a million models apiece.

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, car news magnet, crafter of words