Advertisement
Opinion

"Sunderland's Nissan plant shines after 30 years - here's to 30 more"

It's impossible to overstate the importance of Nissan's Wearside plant to the UK car industry, says Graham Hope

Thirty years ago this month, the doors opened at a car factory that was a leap of faith for its owner, Nissan, which had never previously built a plant outside its native Japan.

The importance of the occasion was underlined by the fact that then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher did the honours, but few at the time could have predicted just how significant the Sunderland factory would become, not just for the United Kingdom, but in global terms.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Fast forward to 2016, and it’s impossible to overstate the impact of the Wearside facility. For the north-east of England it has been a life-saver, with a direct workforce of 7,000 and around 40,000 other jobs reliant on the factory. 

• Nissan boss: future investment in Sunderland plant on Brexit terms

For Nissan it has been a production powerhouse, responsible for cars such as the Micra, Qashqai, Juke and Leaf, and now churning out over 500,000 models a year – a rate of 117 per hour.

For the industry at large, it is a shining example of efficiency and an unmistakable symbol of the enduring relevance of British car manufacturing.

How ironic, then, that at a time when Sunderland should be celebrating, there is a degree of unease in the air over its future, caused by the reluctance of our political leaders to lay out a coherent roadmap for the country in the wake of June’s Brexit vote.

Nissan Sunderland's success story: UK car manufacturing at its best

Let’s be clear: it is uncertainty rather than widespread alarm we are talking about here. We simply don’t know enough about how the UK will trade with Europe in future to make an educated guess on what the implications are for Sunderland.

What we can say with conviction, though, is that if ever there was a car manufacturing facility that deserves the chance to continue its success story, it’s this one. Thanks for the past 30 years, Sunderland, and here’s to many more. 

What are your thoughts on Nissan's Sunderland plant? Leave us a comment below...

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Renault and Nissan suffer heavy losses in 2020
Renault

Renault and Nissan suffer heavy losses in 2020

Renault posted a loss of almost £6.6 billion for the first half of 2020 – and Nissan’s finances took a £1.12 billion hit
30 Jul 2020
New Nissan logo revealed alongside Ariya electric SUV
Nissan

New Nissan logo revealed alongside Ariya electric SUV

Just like Volkswagen, Nissan has revealed a new logo to kickstart its EV revolution
15 Jul 2020
New Nissan Ariya electric SUV unveiled ahead of 2021 launch
Nissan Ariya

New Nissan Ariya electric SUV unveiled ahead of 2021 launch

The Nissan Ariya, a rival for the Tesla Model Y, has arrived with a maximum range of 310 miles and pricing from around £37,500
15 Jul 2020
Nissan Sunderland: Factory's future dependent on Brexit deal
Nissan Ariya concept
Nissan

Nissan Sunderland: Factory's future dependent on Brexit deal

Nissan's vast Sunderland plant survived global cost-cutting measures from Japanese maker, but its future is still in the balance
3 Jun 2020

Most Popular

New Ferrari Roma 2020 review
Ferrari Roma

New Ferrari Roma 2020 review

The new Ferrari Roma GT is the iconic Italian brand’s latest offering – and it’s a big improvement
4 Aug 2020
New 2022 Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 rewrites the supercar rule book
News

New 2022 Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 rewrites the supercar rule book

The new three-seat Gordon Murray T.50 is a spiritual successor to the McLaren F1, with two-thirds of the 100-car run already sold ahead of its 2022 ar…
4 Aug 2020
MPs to consider graduated driving licences
News

MPs to consider graduated driving licences

Transport Committee to hold evidence session looking at how graduated licencing could mitigate the risk novice drivers face on the road
3 Aug 2020