Nissan invests �50m in English plant to build new model

Japanese car maker Nissan is to invest about £50 million in the UK to build a new vehicle at its Sunderland plant in the north-east of England.

The British government is contributing a further £6 million to the investment plan, which involves the creation of a new compact sports utility vehicle from 2010.

The new model will replace the small Micra car at the factory, with production of the next-generation Micra shifting to a plaint in Chennai, India, in a joint venture with Nissan̵7;s global auto partner Renault.

The announcement was made following a visit by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to Nissan's European design centre in London, where he met with Nissan-Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn.

Mr Ghosn said: "By delivering on tough commitments, our employees at Sunderland have demonstrated our plant can be a globally competitive centre for the production of high-value products.̶1;

In the year that ended on March 31, the Sunderland factory produced a record 374,076 Micras, Qashqai SUVs and Note hatchbacks, up 24 per cent from the previous year.

Nissan sells about 80 percent of vehicles produced in Sunderland outside Britain, making it the country's biggest vehicle exporter. Together with its engine plant and other facilities, it employs about 4,700 workers in Sunderland.

Nissan said in January it would add 800 staff and begin a third production shift in Sunderland in response to brisk demand for the new Qashqai model.

Image: Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn praised the Nissan plant as globally competitive

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