Despite record volumes of 300,000 cars every year on Line 1 at the plant, with round-the-clock production resulting in a build rate of one car per minute, the firm are still unable to keep up with the market growth.
Modification work on Line 2 of the plant will ramp up the rate of production.
The first additional vehicles are scheduled for production before the end of the year, ahead of the next phase in Qashqai’s development in 2017 when it becomes the first Nissan in Europe to feature autonomous ‘Piloted Drive’ technology.
Colin Lawther, Nissan’s Senior Vice President for Manufacturing, Purchasing and Supply Chain Management in Europe, said: “Through innovative engineering and productivity improvements, my colleagues in Sunderland have broken production records to keep pace with demand, but our new generation Qashqai has reached a tipping point.
“This additional capacity will give us free supply of Qashqai for the first time, ahead of the launch of a refreshed Qashqai equipped with Piloted Drive technology from next year.”
Nissan currently manufactures the C-segment Qashqai and the all-electric Nissan LEAF, the world’s best-selling electric vehicle, on Line 1 in Sunderland, which operates on a three-shift basis.
Line 2 production currently includes the Nissan Juke B-segment crossover, Nissan Note and Infiniti Q30 premium compact, and will continue to operate on a two-shift basis.
Through body welding, paint and final assembly, all production areas of Line 2 at Sunderland require modification ahead of the introduction of Qashqai.