Nissan to shift some Qashqai compact car production from UK to Russia

Article by Christian A., on April 8, 2012

Nissan will be shifting some production of its Qashqai compact vehicle in the United Kingdom to Russia, in line with a plan to increase annual production by 100% at the company's St Petersburg factory to 100,000 by 2014, according to Nissan's vice president of engineering Colin Lawther. The Russian nation is the biggest market for the vehicles manufactured at Nissan's Sunderland facility in northeast England.

The sales of the company's automobiles in Russia rose 73% in 2011 to slightly below 60,000 units. In 2011, the Sunderland plant rolled out 301,277 Qashqai units running three shifts at maximum capacity. In 2013, Nissan will begin the production of the Leaf electric vehicle for Europe in Sunderland on the same line as the Qashqai. The transfer of the Qashqai production will happen in two years, when the next-generation model is launched.

Lawther did not disclose information on how much production will be shifted to St Petersburg, which presently manufactures the Teana sedan, X-Trail medium SUV and Murano large SUV.

After 2014, the facility will also produce the replacement of the X-Trail previewed at the Geneva motor show by the Hi-Cross concept. All Qashqai models made in the Russian nation will be sold there, enabling Nissan to pass up on import tariffs. Lawther stated that they currently have a 30% handicap.

The Qashqai was the company's bestseller in Europe last year with volume of 216,970 units, an increase of 1.3% from the year before, based on the data from JATO Dynamics.

Additionally, Nissan manufactures the Note small minivan and the Juke small SUV in Sunderland. Last year, the facility rolled out 480,485 automobiles in total. The automaker will replace the Note in 2013 with a sleeker subcompact version founded on the Invitation concept displayed at the 2012 Geneva motor show. This replacement will also be built at Sunderland.

Nissan stays true to its Pure Drive strategy by continuing its innovation and improvement of CO2 and fuel economy performance delivery to consumers with uncompromising, true life benefits. Part and parcel to this is Nissan’s introduction of a new Pure Drive variation of its best-selling Nissan Qashqai, complete with a new state-of-the-art 1.6 dCi engine.

A perfect example of the Pure Drive strategy, the new engine replaces the bigger 2.0 dCi with a more efficient engine that also has lower emissions and a much better fuel economy. All this without losing performance as may be expected from a smaller engine.

To make things even better, CO2 emissions drop to 119 g/km when used with Nissan's Stop / Start system.

New options were innovated also for the range of Nissan Qashqai. This includes a new CVT gearbox and, a first for a C-segment vehicle, Around View Monitor. With small cameras placed on the vehicle’s exterior, AVM makes parking and maneuvering extremely safe because the driver will have a real-time helicopter view of what is around the car.

All this underscores Nissan's leadership in the ever-growing crossover market and will keep the Nissan Qashqai ahead of its competition.

With its launch in 2007, the Qashqai redefined C-segment rules with innovations and character unseen in this once conservative market. SUV appearance and durability met responsive handling and performance, all with an incredibly roomy interior. The car buyers all wanted this and more.

Four and a half years has seen more than one million Qashqais and seven-set Qashqai+2s being produced in Sunderland. Nissan has three 24-hour shifts to meet supply demands. An average of 1,200 examples are built every day, and over 80% are exported out of the UK.

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