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Nissan’s decision to continue production in Sunderland underlines the quality of the region’s automotive sector

Last week the North East LEP, along with the region’s business leaders and workforce, welcomed the announcement that Nissan will produce its new Qashqai and X-Trail models at its Sunderland plant.

This decision not only secures the jobs of nearly 7,000 people at the Nissan plant itself but also tens of thousands of jobs within the wider supply chain which is linked with Nissan throughout the North East.

Production at Sunderland’s Nissan plant began in 1986 and the first car to roll off the production line was a Nissan Bluebird. During the past 30 years models including the Nissan Micra, Nissan Note and Nissan Infiniti Q30 have all been made in Sunderland and the electric Leaf model has been produced here since 2012. The plant turns out around half a million cars a year and has ambitions to increase production even more, further cementing the region’s reputation as a leader in the automotive industry.

I believe that Nissan’s decision is a clear indication that the North East’s automotive sector is world-class. Cars produced in Sunderland are exported to more than 130 countries and the plant is regularly ranked as the most productive in the UK. It’s an astounding fact that one in every three cars made in the UK is made at the site in Sunderland.

The North East is at the forefront of the automotive industry – not just in the UK but globally – and this is something which the North East LEP will be working to build on, with the advanced manufacturing and automotive sector forming a key part of our strategic economic plan for the region.

The news that Nissan will continue to produce its cars in Sunderland is important for people working in the automotive sector today and it’s also important for young people in the region. It’s vital that the future workforce have good quality career opportunities which they can progress to when they leave education. We’ll continue to work with education providers and local industry to make sure that our young people are equipped with the skills they need to begin their careers here in the North East.

Nissan’s decision is an investment in the North East, an investment in our automotive sector and an investment in the people here who make it a global success story.

Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership