Nissan to create jobs in North-east

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Nissan is to create a further 150 jobs at its car plant in Sunderland following the decision to build new car - a estate version of the Primera - in the North-east.

However, the project lined up for 1998 came as almost an anti-climax after some advance media speculation that the firm was poised to build a third model at Sunderland, providing 1,000 new jobs.

The company, already employing more than 4,000 at Sunderland, said the new estate car, taking over from a model imported from Japan, would result from pounds 70m of investment. The output was forecast to be 20,000 a year.

It stressed the decision that Sunderland was set to produce the five- seater, styled at their European design centre at Munich, was further confirmation of the plant as "a centre of manufacturing excellence".

Ian Gibson, chief executive of Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK), said: "The estate car has been an exciting model to develop here in Europe and today's announcement underlines Nissan's commitment to the European car buyer".

The company also said that the Sunderland plant was to start shipping in diesel engines made by the French car group Peugeot for its Micra mini car. This will be the first big component that Nissan has sourced from a rival European vehicle maker.

The diesel engined Micra is scheduled to go on sale in the summer of 1998.

"Compared with Japan, demand is much stronger in the European passenger car market for diesel-engine vehicles and there have been calls for the introduction of Micra models powered by a diesel engine," the company said.