June 9, 2011 · 0 Comments
LONDON: Nissan Motor is to invest £192m ($315m) in Britain on the next version of its Qashqai model, the Japanese carmaker said yesterday, delivering a welcome boost to British manufacturing.
The new Qashqai, a crossover that blends elements of the SUV and hatchback, will be developed at a design centre in London and a technical centre in southern England, before being built at Nissan’s plant in Sunderland, northeast England.
Nissan Motor Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn announced the investment after meeting Britain’s prime minister David Cameron, saying it would safeguard 6,000 jobs, both directly and in the supply chain.
The British government welcomed the announcement which fits with its strategy of trying to lift manufacturing as the country struggles to recover from the financial crisis and ensuing recession. Manufacturing makes up 13 percent of the economy.
Business Secretary Vince Cable will visit Detroit next week where he will meet executives from Ford and General Motors to press the case for further investment in Britain. Cable had talks with Nissan executives in Japan last week.
Cable will highlight the British motor industry’s revival when he addresses industry leaders from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association in London on Wednesday night.
“Some of us remember the 1970s when the car industry became a sad symbol of Britain’s decline; endless strikes, poor management, underinvestment,” he will say, according to advance extracts of his speech.
“Thanks mainly to overseas investors bringing new technology and management techniques, the industry had a renaissance.” Cable is particularly targeting investment in production of electric and other low-carbon vehicles.
By Emma Brown