Nissan is seeking permission from the Sunderland city council to extend its factory in the location. The Japanese carmaker wants to extend its Sunderland site by around 25,000 square feet (2,300 square meters), enabling it to expand its body and paint shops, as well as trim, chassis and press facilities. Nissan is planning to build a new premium compact car for its Infiniti brand starting in 2015 at the plant, which is currently the largest in the United Kingdom.
A Nissan spokesman remarked that the extensions will support the continued growth of Nissan's operations in the UK, "reflecting the success of models manufactured in the country" like the Qashqai, Juke, Note and Leaf EV. The planned main extensions pertain to the body shop and the trim and chassis building, and needed for new production facilities, the spokesman said.
The Sunderland site -- which has an annual output capacity of around 500,000 vehicles -- is bound to produce new versions of the Nissan Qashqai and Note in the next three years and the Infiniti Q30 premium compact car.
The spokesman said that once output for the new models commences, the plant will have a production capacity of over 550,000 vehicles. Nissan currently builds most Infiniti vehicles in Japan.
Nissan remarked in May that Infiniti models accounted for less than 1 percent of operating profit in the past two years, no thanks to a strong yen. Nissan is now intending plans to produce cars for Infiniti at its Xiangyang site in China starting 2014 and in Sunderland from 2015. Nissan said the Sunderland plant provides jobs to around 6,000 people, with a further 23,000 jobs supported by its UK supply chain.