Nissan Sunderland Plant Secure with £100 Million New Investment
Nissan has announced that it is to invest £100 million in its Sunderland plant to allow it to build the new Nissan Juke model.
The announcement was made as Chancellor George Osborne visited the company’s Sunderland plant on 3 September. The investment will secure the long-term future of the plant and the jobs of the 6,700 employees who work there. It will also support a further 20,000 jobs across the UK in the supply chain that services the Nissan manufacturing plant. Nissan gave the UK car industry a further boost by announcing that the new Juke will be designed and engineered at Nissan's facilities at Cranfield and London.
During his visit to Nissan’s Sunderland plant, George Osborne said that it was great news that the new Juke was to be built in Sunderland, a move which would secure thousands of high-quality jobs for working people across the region. The Chancellor also pointed to the government’s plans to build what he called an economic ‘Northern Powerhouse’ that would build on the region’s strengths, of which manufacturing is a key plank. He also said that the announcement reinforced the UK’s position as a leading player in the global car industry.
News of the £100 million investment came on the back of an earlier scheme where the government agreed to provide £1.4 million in matched funding to provide training for 1,700 workers at the Nissan plant. This move was designed to help the plant compete more competitively for international projects like the manufacture of the Juke.
The chairman of Nissan Europe, Paul Wilcox, was also on hand to welcome news of the new Juke’s manufacture at Sunderland and the accompanying £100 million investment. He pointed to the unique design of the Juke as being a key reason why Nissan was so successful in the lucrative and growing crossover market and pointed to five consecutive years of growing sales in Europe as evidence of that success. He added that the confirmation of the new Juke model meant that the company would continue to be the benchmark in the segment for years to come. Wilcox concluded by pointing out that the new investment at the plant would secure jobs at the plant well beyond 2020.
In total, Nissan employs around 8,000 people in the UK, mostly at the Sunderland plant but also in design and engineering at Cranfield and London. The company is estimated to support a further 27,000 third-party jobs in its supply chain, with another 4,000 employed in its dealerships.
The Juke has been a great sales success for Nissan. It is a striking little SUV crossover which cleverly combines the agility of a supermini with the chunky looks and appeal of an SUV. It is well equipped and prices are reasonable, and it benefits from a particularly good 1.2 litre turbo engine. Strong sales mean that resale values are high, and the popularity of the nippy little Juke seems set to continue with the new model.
Where the Juke is less successful is in the overall quality of the interior fit and finish, and the design, although undeniably striking, is a little less practical then some of its competitors. It can be quite hard to get in and out of, especially for rear passengers, and the car feels a little tight for space. Some of those rivals can also beat the Juke when it comes to CO2 emissions and fuel economy, and it is also less fun to drive than some of those cars. Even the 1.2 turbo can feel a little thrashy, and the Juke is noticeably noisier than some of the other cars in this class. Nevertheless, many successful cars have limitations when looked at rationally, and the Nissan Juke is one of those which people just seem to enjoy. It looks the part, and the huge options list gives owners lots of scope to personalise the car to their needs. With so many bland cars out there, this is perhaps enough to guarantee success for the Juke.