Nissan’s plant in Sunderland was given the Queen’s Award for its achievements in International Trade. The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are given to UK-based companies that excel in business performance. Nissan presently exports 80% of its cars to 97 worldwide markets from Sunderland; markets include mainland Europe, New Zealand, Dubai and Central Africa.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan’s Vice President for Manufacturing in the UK, said that being given the Queen’s Award is a great start for the year and coincides with its announcement of a major recruitment campaign and the development of two new models. This award gives credence to the top quality products that roll out from the factory, namely the Qashqai, Juke and Note.
He believes that the company earns the awards because of the continuing motivation, commitment and flexibility of the Sunderland plant workforce combined with the success of its products and the ability to respond to market demand. Fitzpatrick also noted that this is the fifth time that the Sunderland plant got this award in the 26 years that it has been operating.
The plant won for three straight years from 1992 to 1994. In the next two years, four new products will be launched at the Nissan Sunderland Plant, which includes Nissan’s first 100% electric vehicle, the Nissan LEAF, with production capacity expected to increase beyond 550,000 units. This expansion is supported by a major recruitment campaign, with jobs for key posts in Engineering, Maintenance and Production.
In coming out with new models, Nissan always makes sure that it follows the Pure Drive strategy. Under this plan, the goal is to innovate keeping in mind that fuel economy and CO2 emissions are enhanced. However, it should be done in a manner that would not compromise anything and thus offer real benefits to its customers. One result of this strategy is the Pure Drive version of its Qashqai.
While the previous version was fitted with the 2.0-liter dCi engine, the new model has inside the advanced 1.6-liter dCi engine. The new engine is able to deliver the same performance as that of the bigger engine but is more efficient as fuel economy is better while emissions are lower. Paired with the Start/Stop system, the CO2 emissions of this new model comes in at 119 g/km.
This pairing, the engine and the Start/Stop system, had been a result of the collaboration between Europe-based Alliance Partner Renault and Japan-based Nissan. The latter worked on the automatic cut-off system while the former focused on the engine. The original goal was to be able to present these two features together. In addition to the new engine, the Qashqai will offer advanced new options as well.
One example of which is the CVT gearbox, a first for a model belonging to the C-segment. Another interesting option is the Around View Monitor, or AVM, which utilizes a host of small cameras that have been placed on the exterior.
With this, parking and maneuvering are easy and safe as the driver gets a real-time bird’s-eye view of the surroundings. With this, the brand hopes that it will continue to lead the Crossover market and at the same ensure that the Qashqai is at least a step ahead of its rivals.