Nissan in profit as new UK car is confirmed

Nissan, the Japanese car giant, yesterday reversed predictions of losses from its UK operations as the company confirmed plans to build a third model range at its Sunderland factory by the turn of the millennium.

The investment is likely to create 800 new jobs at Sunderland, along with an estimated 2,700 further jobs in UK components suppliers and 1,300 additional jobs on the Continent.

Nissan said its British subsidiary was now likely to declare a small profit for last year, confounding management's previous forecast of losses due to the cost of re-tooling production lines for the replacement for the Primera.

A Nissan spokesman said: "That prediction now looks unduly pessimistic. Production was better than expected last year so we can take a more positive outlook." The official figures will be revealed in May.

The news reinforces the starkly opposing fortunes of UK car producers, as Ford proceeds with plans to slash 1,300 jobs at Halewood on Merseyside. Ford's share of the British market slumped below 20 per cent last year for the first time and its European manufacturing operations, hit by huge overcapacity, slid further into the red.

The decision by Nissan's Japanese management to build the new car in Sunderland came after years spent deliberating about the costs of rival plants across its world-wide empire. Only last summer Ian Gibson, chief executive of Nissan GB, had said he personally did not believe the car, a replacement for the Escort sized Almera, would be made in the UK.

The change of heart came because of recent dramatic efficiency strides at Sunderland, which have raised productivity by 10 per cent each year since 1993. Sunderland takes 10 hours to make a Primera and just 8.5 hours to build a Micra, putting the plant at the very top of the productivity league in the UK.

"We must recognise that it is through the efficiency and productivity of the workers there that we have been able to demonstrate levels of efficiency that are amongst the best in the world," said Mr Gibson.

Another consideration was the gradual revival in the European car market. Last year the Sunderland site made 231,000 Micras and Primeras, higher than the original forecast of about 215,000.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee