Prime Minister David Cameron is today visiting the Nissan car manufacturing plant in Sunderland, as the company thanked the UK government for continuing support and investment.
The visit marks the official start of production of the new, 100% electric Nissan LEAF. The car is now rolling off the line at the company’s Sunderland Plant, using advanced lithium-ion batteries manufactured in Nissan’s new UK Battery Plant. Together the Battery Plant and Nissan LEAF production are supporting jobs for more than 2,000 people in the UK car industry, including more than 500 directly at Nissan.
Mr Cameron said:
Nissan’s record breaking year last year is a success story for UK volume car manufacturing and demonstrates how our automotive industry is competing and thriving in the global race. I warmly welcome the production of the new electric LEAF model and battery plant at Sunderland. This £420 million investment, backed by government, is supporting over 2,000 jobs in our automotive sector including more than 500 at Nissan in Sunderland, helping people in the area who want to work hard and get on.
The government has committed £400 million to make the UK a leading market for ultra low carbon vehicles. Nissan’s announcement shows the confidence the company has in the skills-base and the business environment in the UK and that the UK is open for business.
The launch event comes as Nissan Sunderland Plant celebrates making more than seven million units since its opening in 1986. Last year it became the first UK car factory ever to make more than half a million cars in one year.
Nissan’s Executive Vice President Andy Palmer said:
Today’s announcement progresses Nissan’s unwavering commitment to zero emissions motoring.
The Nissan LEAF is our most technically advanced car yet and the launch of this new model, built along with its batteries in Sunderland, is a huge boost not only for the plant but for British manufacturing. We have been showing that you can operate a world-beating plant in the UK for almost 30 years and the construction of the battery plant is a vote of confidence in the country’s ability to support high-technology manufacturing.
We could not have reached this point without the support and commitment we have enjoyed from governments across Europe, especially the British government, who are backing the car industry on manufacturing and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. I would also like to once again place on record our thanks to our many partners and their strong belief in zero-emissions motoring.