Nissan has announced its plans to produce new electric versions of its models Juke and Qashqai in its Sunderland plant, supporting an estimate of 6,000 UK jobs.
Nissan is allocating £1.12 billion to upgrading its UK facilities and supply chain, as well as to providing training for its workforce. In addition to the construction of a gigafactory for manufacturing batteries, likely in conjunction with its next-door neighbour AESC, the overall new investment is expected to amount to £2 billion, as stated by the company.
The upcoming vehicles will take the place of the plant’s existing trio of models: the Qashqai, the Juke crossover SUVs and the Leaf.
The commitment to producing three new electric models and to building a battery plant entails a considerable boost to the UK auto industry.
A significant gigafactory is already under construction at the site, managed by AESC Envision, a Chinese company specialising in manufacturing batteries for the automotive sector, from which Nissan holds a 20% ownership stake.
Total investment in the Cumberland area, encompassing the battery factories, amounts to £3 billion, far surpassing the previously committed £1 billion.
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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Nissan’s investment is a massive vote of confidence in the UK’s automotive industry, which already contributes a massive £71 billion a year to our economy.”
In response to the news, Ben Nelmes, CEO of New AutoMotive, said: “This is good news for the UK’s automotive industry, and proof that ambitious government action on electric vehicles is a route to jobs, investment and growth. British-made batteries mean cheaper EVs, reducing the cost of transport and logistics for individuals and businesses, which will have significant benefits for the whole of the UK.
“At a time when governments across the world are competing for investment in electric vehicle manufacturing, the UK government should be pulling out all the stops to keep securing investment, and ensure the country’s future as an automotive manufacturing nation.”
Commenting on the announcement, Nick Williams, Managing Director, Lex Autolease, part of Lloyds Banking Group, said: “For the UK to remain a leader in vehicle electrification, it is vital that government departments and industry bodies continue to work together to encourage manufacturers that Britain is the most attractive place to invest in electric vehicle production.
“Commitments such as this one by Nissan are key to the UK delivering on the ambitions set out its Road to Zero policy, and it’s clear that the long-term policy framework from the government, which includes the ZEV mandate, is providing manufacturers with the confidence they need to invest in the UK.
“By ensuring the product supply and supporting charge network is in place, we can continue to help individual drivers and businesses accelerate their transition to an electric future.”