Production of the Nissan Note began today at the automotive's Sunderland facility, in a £125m investment creating 400 new jobs.
The line was officially opened this morning in a ceremony attended by the minister of state for business and enterprise, Michael Fallon.
Mr Fallon said Nissan, which produced 510,572 vehicles in the UK in 2012, is a valuable contributor towards the UK economy.
“The Nissan plant here is the most productive car plant in Europe – they make more cars here than the entire Italian car industry does,” he said.
Production of the Note at the UK’s biggest ever car manufacturing facility was assisted by an additional £9.3m grant from the Regional Growth Fund.
John Martin, senior vice President for manufacturing, purchasing and supply chain management for Nissan in Europe, said: “This investment is further endorsement of our Sunderland plant, which is now an international benchmark for productivity and quality as a result of the hard work and consistently high performance by the management and workforce.
“I would like to congratulate all of my colleagues at the plant and in our supply base on the launch of this new model, and once again thank the UK Government for their ongoing support for the automotive industry.”
The new Note’s design and technology has already caught the attention of customers, with Nissan dealers across Europe taking more than 14,000 pre-orders since the order books opened in July.