25 years old and still going strong

Nissan’s Sunderland plant is 25 years old and has produced over 6,000,000 vehicles.

NISSAN’S factory at Sunderland has reached its silver annniversary. It opened in September, 1986.
Lady Thatcher (at the time Margaret) was the country’s prime minister and she opened the plant and painted a second eye on a traditional Japanese ‘daruma’ doll, which was a symbol of the opening. Prince Charles and Lady Diana had painted the first eye when they went to Nissan’s Zama Plant in Japan.
And the plant has been a record-breaker with production rising from 5,139 Bluebirds to 423,262 cars last year – the first time any UK plant had produced over 400,000 vehicles in a year. It has made over 6.2-million vehicles in its lifetime.
Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of Nissan Motor Co said: “As the UK’s largest car plant, biggest car exporter, and soon battery plant – with battery production for the Nissan LEAF planned for next year – Sunderland is a beacon of Nissan’s exemplary leadership in manufacture, management and technology, which define a global car company in the 21st century.”
A time capsule buried on the site marks this milestone.
Of the 430 people employed when the plant opened, 133 are still there.
The anniversary year has been special for Nissan in the UK. As well as record production, staff produced their six millionth car in January, and the first shipment of the 100 per cent electric Nissan LEAF arrived. More good news followed when it was announced that the next generation of the Nissan Qashqai would be designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK, just as the Qashqai became the fastest UK-made car to reach one million units.
Staff are now gearing up for the start of production at the firm’s new lithium-ion battery plant in the New Year, ahead of Nissan LEAF production beginning at Sunderland in 2013. Production of the new Qashqai will take Nissan’s total investment in its UK manufacturing base to £3.3-billion.