In a further boost to manufacturing and supply at Nissan's Sunderland plant in the UK, the carmaker has announced it will begin producing a new midsized hatchback model at the plant from 2014, bringing annual output at the plant to more than half a million units, with big demands on both inbound logistics provision and outbound transport. Warehousing and logistics firm Vantec Europe has already announced it will invest £22.5m ($35.8m) in a facility next to the Nissan plant.
The announcement of the new model follows last month's news that Nissan will be building its B-segment compact car based on the Invitation concept from next year (read more here).
With a further investment of £127m ($202m), annual production capacity for the new model will be around 80,000 units meaning the plant will have both production lines operating around the clock for the first time in the its 26-year history, a move that will necessitate an extra shift and push output above 550,000 units. The latest addition will mean an extra 225 jobs at Nissan and 900 at component companies supplying Nissan in the UK.
Sunderland, the UK's biggest vehicle plant, currently produces the Qashqai, Qashqai +2, Juke and Note models. Capacity left by the outgoing Note next year will be replaced by the addition of the Invitation-derived model, followed by production of the Leaf electric vehicle next year and the new hatchback in 2014.
It brings investment in the Sunderland plant in recent years £921m, more than a quarter of overall investment in the plant according to Nissan.
"In Europe Nissan has achieved record growth in recent years by providing innovative, customer-focused models like Qashqai and Juke that are designed, developed and produced within the region," said Nissan's chief operating officer, Toshiyuki Shiga.
"Nissan already produces more vehicles in Europe than any other Asian manufacturer and the model announced today will bring world-class quality and leading technology to our customers at the heart of the European C-segment."
The move is supported by an offer of £8.2m from the UK government's Regional Growth Fund.
"I would also like to thank the UK Government for its strong and sustained support which allows us to continue making significant, long-term investment in our Sunderland operation," added Shiga.
As mentioned, Nissan's growth, supported by the Regional Growth Fund (RGF), has already attracted the attention of freight and customs specialist Vantec Europe, following a £2.7m RGF package secured in collaboration with Sunderland City Council. The move represents the first Enterprise Zone development to get underway in the UK and will create 230 jobs by 2015. Vantec said the investment is part of plans to expand its global automotive logistics presence.
Vantec provides warehousing and logistics to Nissan Sunderland, Komatsu UK, Birtley and Cummins Engines in Darlington.
The new facility will handle around 6m plastic and metal containers holding Nissan car parts each year, received from the UK and European supply chain.