Current third-gen Nissan Qashqai facelift

Despite future UK-European Union trade terms being far from finalised following Brexit (current terms will remain until the end of the year), Nissan has unveiled a new £52 million (RM285.6 million) press line in its UK manufacturing plant, as preparations ramp up at Sunderland for the next generation Nissan Qashqai, which is popular in Europe.

The “XL” press, which weighs more than 2,000 tonnes and has taken 18 months to install, is part of a £400 million (RM2.2 billion) investment by the Japanese carmaker in readiness for the third-generation crossover. The first specially commissioned panels on the press were produced last week at an official ceremony, led by Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta.

“When the first Nissan Qashqai rolled off the line in Sunderland in 2006 it created the crossover segment. Designed, engineered and made in the UK, and more than three million vehicles later, it remains the benchmark, just as our team in the UK continues to set the standard for productivity and quality,” Gupta said.

Second-generation Nissan Juke

The £52m million investment includes a new recycling system to segregate and process scrap, and upgrades to the existing blanking line which will supply flat blanks (the sheets of metal that are ready to be pressed) to the XL press. It is capable of stamping more than 6.1 million car panels a year, with a maximum combined force of 5,400 tonnes.

The whole team behind the press project signed the first panel, a fender for the second-generation Juke. March 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of the original Juke to roll off the line in Sunderland. The latest version has been made exclusively in Sunderland since October 2019.

The £400 million invested for the larger Qashqai comes on top of the £100 million invested for the launch of new Juke, and is part of an overall £1 billion planned investment into the plant by Nissan over five years. To support certain elements of the £400 million investment, Nissan received support from the UK’s department for business energy and industrial strategy.

According to Reuters, Nissan has said that if Brexit leads to tariffs, its European business, which also includes a plant in Barcelona, would be unsustainable. Carmakers worry that any additional customs checks, tariffs and regulations could add costs and slow production processes. In 2016, the carmaker said it would build the new Qashqai in the UK after government reassurances that Brexit would not hit competitiveness.