More than 300 new jobs are heading to the North East as Nissan UK gears up to start production on the new Infiniti Q30 model.
The new staff will join the Sunderland manufacturing facility ahead of the biggest model launch in the UK in 23 years.
The Wearside manufacturing arm launches production of the firm’s first entry in to the premium compact sector later this year – the first new car brand to be pioneered in the UK on such a scale in 23 years.
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In preparation, the business, which employs more than 6,000 people in Sunderland and supports thousands more through its supply chain, has launched recruitment for 300 new jobs needed to support the model launch.
The move represents a £250m investment in the facility, including plant extensions totalling more than 269,000sqft which have already been added to the existing facilities to house a new body shop and an expanded trim and chassis vehicle assembly line. Last week the firm was also granted approval to forge ahead with a new 73,000sqft press shop unit.
The new recruits will join the company ahead of the start of production of Q30 later this year. Colin Lawther, senior vice president for manufacturing, purchasing and supply chain management in Europe, said: “Infiniti production heralds the beginning of a new era for our operations in the UK, and the demands of premium vehicle manufacturing require a significant addition.
The current recruitment drive is higher than the 180 direct jobs originally announced in 2012 as a result of Infiniti allocation to the Nissan facility in the UK.
It will take the company’s Sunderland workforce to just below 6,800, supporting an estimated further 28,000 jobs in the UK automotive supply chain.
The production start of the Infiniti Q30 at Sunderland will be closely followed by a second Infiniti model, the QX30, a new premium compact crossover.
Infiniti had a record-breaking 2014 with global sales of more than 186,200 vehicles, up 13.5% from the previous year.
The firm is poised to pass the milestone mark of eight million cars produced this year after racking up sales of more than £5bn in the year ended March 2014.
The company also reached all-time high results in 19 markets around the world last year, becoming one of the fastest growing premium brands in a number of key regions and markets such as China, Western Europe, the Middle East and Mexico.