Nissan Invitation Concept to enter production at firm’s Sunderland plant in UK

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 8, 2012

Nissan has unveiled a dynamic hatchback concept -- dubbed INVITATION -- at the Geneva Motor Show. This concept vehicle embodies the vision of the automaker for an all-new compact automobile to be launched next year. Nissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer disclosed that a production variant will debut at the automaker's Sunderland facility in the United Kingdom in 2013.

The model will be manufactured together with the renowned Juke crossover. It will be competing within the key mainstream B-segment. Aside from the automobile assembly, the Sunderland plant also engages in axle production, camshaft machining, engine assembly and cylinder head casting, embodying a total investment of £125 million by the automaker in the British country.

The project is also backed by a £9.3m investment grant offer from the Regional Growth Fund of the UK Government. The new model is expected to have an initial volume of about 100,000 units annually, depending on market demand.

This will aid in strengthening the Sunderland facility's position as the biggest automobile plant in the United Kingdom -- a role that it has held for 14 years already. On Sunderland plant's 25th anniversary in 2011, the facility set a new production record with at least 480,000 units.

Aside from having a significant role in the automaker's market expansion in Europe, the new model will also have a considerable benefit in terms of jobs with around 2,000 new posts created at Nissan as well as among its UK supplier base.

The figure includes the 400 new Nissan hires at the Sunderland facility, increasing its overall workforce to about 6,000, which is its highest in history. Nissan Senior Vice President for Manufacturing in Europe, Trevor Mann, commented that the facility has a 20-year heritage in manufacturing producing "successful" compact vehicles from way back in 1992, when the first Micra rolled off the line.

The Nissan Invitation achieves class-leading fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions because of its much-acclaimed lightweight platform and its aerodynamically efficient body, with the help of advanced engine technology. The carmaker is targeting an ultra-low CO2 emission level of under 100g/km through the Invitation’s best model and all versions that are qualified to wear the brand’s PURE DRIVE badge.

Responsive agile handling will likewise ensure that the Nissan Invitation is competitive with top performers in its segment in terms of driving dynamics.

And just like the new Micra, the Invitation uses the brand’s new light-weight V-platform. This platform was engineered to provide optimum rigidity for outstanding handling characteristics – paired with a refined ride – yet at the lowest weight possible for strong fuel efficiency, low emissions, and enhanced performance.

Moreover, the Invitation’s suspension layout carries an independent front by MacPherson struts plus coil springs and compact torsion beam axle at the rear that’s designed to minimize intrusion to the luggage area. The suspension systems have been mounted on sub frames, helping isolate vibration, harshness, and road noise. The Invitation has a length of 4150mm, width of 1740mm, and height of 1470mm.

However, Nissan Invitation is not just an attractive car that is frugal and fun to drive. It also packs advanced technology designed to promote safety. Among these advanced safety technology features is the Around View Monitor, which is seen on a B segment vehicle for the first time ever.

The AVM makes parallel parking and reversing stress-free. Additionally, the Invitation incorporates the Nissan Safety Shield Technologies, which interact with the car’s driving environment, keeping you aware of what’s occurring around the car.

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