The next generation Qashqai and Juke electric cars will be built at Nissan’s assembly plant in Sunderland following the carmaker’s announcement of a fresh £1.1 billion investment round in the UK.
This builds on the £1 billion electric vehicle hub announced by Nissan and its battery partner AESC in 2021, and brings its total investment in Sunderland since 2021 to £3 billion. The plant, known as NMUK, already builds the electric Nissan Leaf, and has a 7,000 strong workforce.
Nissan president and chief executive Makoto Uchida said: “With electric versions of our core European models on the way, we are accelerating towards a new era for Nissan, for industry and for our customers.
The EV36Zero project puts our Sunderland plant, Britain’s biggest ever car factory, at the heart of our future vision. It means our UK team will be designing, engineering and manufacturing the vehicles of the future, driving us towards an all-electric future for Nissan in Europe.”
Since the Nissan Sunderland plant opened in 1986 it has grown into one of Europe’s largest car plants with world leading productivity, and earlier this year it produced its 11 millionth vehicle.
Today’s investment takes the total Nissan investment in the UK past £6 billion. and follows Nissan’s confirmation that all its new cars in Europe from now will be fully electric, with its passenger cars across Europe expected to be 100% electric by 2030.
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. This venture will no doubt secure Sunderland’s future as the UK’s Silicon Valley for electric vehicle innovation and manufacturing.”
Nissan said that alongside this, a major new battery plant known as a “gigafactory” will also be needed.
This is in addition to the current factory adjacent to the car plant, and a further gigafactory already being built by its partner, AESC.
The plan is expected to receive government support, though it is not clear what form that will take. Nissan has confirmed it will receive £15m in funding for its research centre in Bedfordshire.
The UK government has provided existing support for Nissan through the Automotive Transformation Fund, which received a £2bn top-up in the Autumn Statement on Wednesday.
The news has been welcomed by many in the UK’s automotive industry. Ben Nelmes, chief executive 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.”
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The UK’s automotive manufacturing sector continues to demonstrate its investment attractiveness with yet another significant commitment. This new announcement from Nissan – coming on the back of billions recently committed by other manufacturers and supported by the UK government – underlines Britain’s position as an increasingly competitive location for electric vehicle production. It is tremendous news for the company, its workforce, the region and the UK’s supply chain, which will drive economic growth and decarbonisation across the UK.”