Nissan Sunderland Plant has been the UK’s biggest car manufacturer for the past 14 years, and the biggest car exporter for the last 12. In 2011, during the plant’s 25th anniversary year, the 6 millionth vehicle rolled off the line, and the plant achieved an annual production figure of 480,485 units – a new UK record for a single car plant. One in every three new cars built in the UK comes from Sunderland Plant.
The Sunderland factory has been operational since 1986 and currently employs around 5,800 people. It is part of the European division of the Japanese car manufacturer Nissan Motor Company Ltd. The plant has a current line-up of Qashqai and Qashqai+2 production on Line 1, with Juke and Note on Line 2. Three main production areas – body assembly, paint, and final assembly – are fed by a press shop, castings plant, engine plant, axle plant, and a bumper moulding facility. A lithium-ion battery plant was recently built, to support introduction of electric vehicle production early next year. Many suppliers are also based within the Nissan facility, sharing line-side production areas.
The plant has been recognised globally as one of the most efficient manufacturing plants in Europe and a cornerstone of Nissans manufacturing worldwide. It is currently preparing for introduction of four new models over the next two years: production of electric vehicle LEAF will begin early 2013, then replacement for Note based on the INVITATION concept, a Qashqai replacement, and a new medium hatchback in 2014. Line 1 introduced a third shift in 2009 and Line 2 will follow suit in 2013, meaning the entire plant will be running as a 24-hour operation for the first time in its 26-year history.
During the visit, you will be taken on a comprehensive tour of this award-winning facility by a member of the Nissan team. You will be able to see first hand how the company has applied Lean and other continuous improvement practices.