Today Nissan Sunderland plant is celebrating 25 years since its official opening on 8th September 1986. The plant is the largest in the UK.
Officially opened by Lady Thatcher during her time as prime minister, the plant produced 5,139 Bluebirds in the first year of production. Times have moved on however, and in 2010 the plant became the first UK plant ever to produce more than 400,000 vehicles in a year (423,262).
In total there are 12 models which have been produced at Sunderland, including the Bluebird, Primera, Micra, Almera, Note, Qashqai and Juke. 6.2million vehicles have rolled out the doors of Sunderland making it a huge contribution to the UK economy.
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan Motor Co. recognised the staff of the plant, saying “I celebrate this milestone with the Nissan Sunderland Plant and commend the significant achievements of the plant and its employees over the past 25 years,”
Already being the largest plant in the UK, there are expansion plans including a battery-powered plant where the Nissan LEAF will be produced next year. This will be revolutionary and demonstrates Nissan's exemplary management in manufacturing and technological advances.
Prime Minister David Cameron supports the investments of Nissan Motor Co. in the UK, stating "I welcome Nissan's continued investment in the UK, and the important role Nissan is playing in helping to rebalance our economy.With the design, development and manufacture of their new generation Qashqai all taking place in the UK, Nissan has restated its confidence in the skills of its British workforce and in the UK's manufacturing sector."
To mark this anniversary there will be a time-capsule ceremony recreating the original one carried out when the plant was opened. This new one will update the previous artifacts, and will include a model Qashqai, a telephone directory, newspapers from today, a Sunderland AFC shirt and items donated by regional partners.
Of the 430 people who were employed when the plant opened in 1986, 133 are still employed there. Today's ceremony will be carried out by two of these; Trevor Mann, Nissan’s Senior Vice President for Manufacturing in Europe, and Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan’s Vice President for Manufacturing in the UK.