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Nissan’s decision to build its new Invitation car in Sunderland is the third statement of confidence in the plant in the last two years. In 2010 the company announced plans to manufacture the new electric Leaf in Wearside and last year it said it would also produce the new Qashqai on the site. (BBC, 6th March 2012)

Yet just three years ago, the company had just announced 1,200 job cuts and was cutting production.  So how has the company managed to turn impending crisis into record employment? The first credit has to go to the leadership at Nissan. The company has come up with successful cars – the Qashqai in particular has proved a worldwide hit.   The manufacturer has seen its market share boosted by producing cars that people want.

Then there is the workforce. Nissan’s expansion is also partly due to the fact that Nissan’s Sunderland plant is the most efficient in Europe, with exceptional industrial relations. That has helped secure work which could have gone elsewhere in the group.

Trevor Mann, Nissan’s head of production in Europe, said: ‘Despite the Euro crisis the European market has grown by 4% and our market share has grown by 25%. We produced 140,000 more cars last year than we did in 2010.  The market proves if you have got a good car at a competitive price, you can grow.’

The 400 new jobs that will flow from this latest investment by Nissan will take the number of staff at Sunderland above 6,000. A further 1,600 jobs are expected to be created in the supply chain, as 100,000 Invitations a year roll off the production line.

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