Report: Nissan to build electric Juke and Qashqai in Sunderland


Sunderland-built Nissan Qashqai was UK’s best-selling car in 2022

Japanese firm set to outline electric future for its two big-selling crossovers, which will continue to be built in the UK

Nissan will reportedly build the electric successors to the Juke and Qashqai at its UK factory in Sunderland.

Sky News says the Japanese manufacturer will make an announcement this Friday, following “months of talks” with the government, in a move that is said to safeguard thousands of jobs at the site, where around 6000 staff currently build the petrol versions of the two crossovers alongside the electric Leaf

Sky says Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt have been involved in the discussions, with Nissan’s commitment tied to a ‘significant’ government funding guarantee.

Nissan’s own investment in the scheme will likely be upwards of £1 billion, according to automotive industry sources. 

The firm is currently building its EV360 battery factory at the site, which has the potential to produce up to 35GWh of batteries each year – around a third of the capacity the UK is expected to require by 2030.

It recently confirmed it would only launch electric cars in Europe from now on, before ceasing combustion car sales completely in the region from 2030. It has not yet, however, hinted at when it will launch electric versions of the Qashqai and Juke, which have been on sale in their current forms for two and four years, respectively. 

The Qashqai was the UK’s best-selling car in 2022, with nearly 43,000 units sold, and accounts for a fifth of all cars built in the UK since it launched in 2007. 

Reports of Nissan’s imminent announcement come just hours after UK chancellor Jeremy Hunt pledged £2 billion of support to industry for zero-emission investment in the UK’s automotive sector in the next five years.

The money, announced by Hunt in his Autumn Statement in the House of Commons on Wednesday (22 November), will be part of a wider £4.5bn support package in “strategic manufacturing sectors” before 2030. The government said the funding was targeted at the “UK’s strongest, world-leading sectors” and would help those sectors remain “at the forefront of the global transition to net zero”.

Hunt said: “For our advanced manufacturing and green energy sectors, international investors say the biggest thing we can do is announce a longer-term strategy for their industries.”

He said the overall £4.5bn funding would “leverage many times that from the private sector and in turn will grow our economy, creating more skilled, higher-paid jobs in new industries that will be built to last.”

The £2bn for zero-emission investments in the automotive industry “has been warmly welcomed by Nissan and Toyota”, Hunt said.

There has not yet been any indication of what the investment means for Toyota’s factory at Burnaston, Derbyshire, which is currently home to the hybrid Corolla, but the longer-term future of the site has been discussed by senior executives at the firm.

Earlier this year, Matt Harrison, Toyota’s Europe chief operating officer, cited a lack of battery plant investment in the UK as the biggest challenge being weighed up as it evaluated future EV production at the site.

Autocar has contacted Nissan and Toyota for comment.

Business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch said: “The UK is a global hub for advanced manufacturing, with world-leading automotive, aerospace and maritime sectors. This package builds on recent investment wins, such as the £4bn gigafactory, and the £600 million invested to build the next generation of electric Minis, and ensures that the government can continue to help create jobs, grow the economy, and secure the future of great British manufacturing.”

Government investment was key to JLR (formerly Jaguar Land Rover) parent firm Tata choosing to site its new battery factory in the UK.

Source: Autocar

Leave a Reply