Opinion : New Nissan Qashqai – why us Brits should get behind it

Last week, I spent a couple of highly illuminating days immersed in the world of Nissan as the company launched its new Qashqai to the UK’s media. I’m sure pretty much everyone who reads this website will be more than aware of just how many Qashqais have rolled out of the company’s factory in Washington, but this is not a Japanese car that happens to be built here… far from it.

The original Qashqai was launched in 2007, and is generally regarded as having kick-started the boom in family-friendly SUVs that didn’t have to feature four-wheel drive or have any real off-road capability. Love ’em or hate ’em, there’s no denying that SUV crossovers have become quite the phenomenon. They sell in their bucket-loads, and make good money for their makers.  Yes, of course, there was the Matra Rancho before that, which sold 56,700 examples between 1977 and 1984, but the Qashqai’s success goes well beyond that with more than three million copies built as it goes into its third generation.

Back in the early 2000s, Nissan’s staple products were the Primera and Almera, and they were selling steadily. The Qashqai concept originated in the company’s London Design Office, in Paddington, and was quickly developed into a production reality. The engineering of the product was conducted primarily in the UK at the company’s development centre, and worked on by hundreds of UK Engineers before going into production in Washington, which directly employed around 700o workers.

Fast forward almost 15 years and the recipe has been repeated. It’s been designed in the UK and the project has been led by a Brit, Matthew Weaver. It was engineered once again in Cranfield, and last week it went into production at Nissan’s Sunderland plant, which locals will tell you is in Washington and was formerly the site of RAF Unsworth.

Nissan Qashqai 2021

Either way, it’s as British as British can be right now, this side of anything by Jaguar Land Rover or Morgan and, currently, if you want a volume-produced British car, the Qashqai is as good as it gets. The Nissan Design Europe (NDE) head office in Paddington is a great place, and looks like the perfect location to devise innovative products. The building is in a renovated maintenance depot for British Rail, and you don’t have to look too hard for signs of its heritage and, these days, it is a registered historical property.

Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE), located in Cranfield a fascinating place, too… and it was good to get a tour of many of its usually top-secret areas. As well as being the base for new model testing for the Qashqai, calibration, quality and production engineering happens here, and it’s an ongoing process. They shower, bake and tear them apart all the name of quality and, from what I’ve seen of the latest model, it’s paid dividends. Another 900 people are based here, so it’s a hefty organisation and a big contributor to the local economy…

Then there’s the factory in which the new Qashqai is built. Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) is the real deal, with sheets of steel and aluminium coming in at one end and cars emerging from the other. It’s highly automated, and the line workers are treated well, with the facility split into Body Assembly, Paint and Final Assembly – encouragingly, Alan Johnson, Vice President of Nissan Sunderland, told me on the factory tour that it’s still one of the highest-rated factories within the company.

So, clearly, the Nissan Qashqai is the pride of Sunderland (as well as Cranfield and Paddington). It’s proof that we’re still capable of designing, engineering and building world-class cars in the UK, even if they don’t wear a British badge on their nose. Not only that, but the line workers in the North East as just as good, if not better, at building them than anyone else across the globe.

And the good news is that, after a couple of days driving, the new Qashqai has emerged from its gestation period as a particularly fine car. It looks smart and has a well-thought out, family-friendly interior that’s been screwed together tightly, and is trimmed in high-quality materials. I love some of the mundane details, such as the wide-opening rear doors, which have obviously been designed to meet the needs of buyers. As is the climate control system, which still has – gasp – physical controls in an increasingly touchscreen-driven world.

Its ride and handling are particularly impressive, and its technology is easier to use than many of its highly-praised rivals. In short, it’s an excellent family car, and one you can buy safe in the knowledge that you’re supporting all of those UK engineering and manufacturing jobs.

Keith Adams

69 Comments

  1. Amazingly the 1st edition, called Dualis in Japan did not sell in its homeland, they did no try to sell the 2nd edition there. Second edition sold correctly in Europe with the Renault diesels, and now that the diesel has gone the Renault-Mercedes 1.3 – I own one in my Scenic – is as smooth and economical as torquey.

  2. I think it is rather an ugly beast. The 2nd gen was a good looking motor but they seem to have gone down the weird look that Toyota have gone down. I hope it does do well as I have extended family working at Sunderland.

  3. Remember all the worries that Sunderland would close due to Brexit and the decision not to build the X Trail at the factory was a we told you so moment from Remainers, well it’ hasn’t happened. Nissan Sunderland is more secure than ever, with the new Qashqai, Juke and Leaf being built there, and employing 8000 staff. Interestingly Nissan has closed one if its plants in the EU( in Spain) due to union militancy, low productivity and poor quality, something that British car factories seem to have beaten.

    • Barcelona was closed as it could not get the volume to justify keeping the doors open – Ford’s light commercial sales steamroller Nissan’s and there was ample capacity for those elsewhere. Nissan hasn’t produced in Korea since the Rogue contract for the US ended with a model change – to try and give the Renault-Samsung plant there some much needed volume they have a new contract to produce a crossover variant of a Samsung model for Renault.

      Previous generation Qahqai had serious problems with certain CVT automatic transmissions which hopefully have been addressed with the redesign.

      • Barcelona could have staid open if they had decided to manufacture XTrail there. And even take some of their Renault Trafic declination like in the past. As there is no more Luton Trafic (and then Vivaro in the past) production there is a risk that Renault cannot provide. Yes like I said Nissan removed the Rogue from Korea, because of nationalism they prefer afording higher cost in Japan and keep Japanese jobs, they cannot be blamed for that. Purchasing the former Samsung plant was Carlos Ghosn’s biggest error (despite Louis Schweitzer was still the CEO, Ghosn was more experimented in international biz). It was cheap and modern, the Korean market was growing. BUT all competitors were living on US and Europe export and how would-you export a Renault to the US, and even though there are a few Koleos and now Arkana exported to Europe, it’s a small business. As a result Hyundai makes a hudge dumping on domestic prices and Renault does not sell (and Ssangyong died). Moreove there were 2 attempts for an US come-back. Around 2010 Mitsubishi requested for 2 cars, Megane Sedan and Talisman to be midly reskinned and exported to the US with Mitsubishi badge but Nissan disagreed and Ghosn was supporting Nissan 100%. Second attempt was Penske who again wanted to sell the same cars in the US thru the defunct Saturn network. Same player shot again. It’s likely the Samsung badge is to disappear. Renault LCVs and the new Captur are only Renault-branded, no Samsung anymore, paying royalties to Samsung does not give any advantage.

  4. Marvellous! It’s a pity in some ways that Nissan didn’t buy a British name (like BMW and some others hold) – wouldn’t it be great if it were a Wolseley! Then we’d have one of the oldest names in the industry still in our showrooms. I know all you young guys would find no value in that, but some of us oldies might!
    Great for Sunderland though, no matter what badge it wears.

    • I realise your suggestion is a little tongue in cheek : )
      But one has to remember around 80% of Qashqais are exported to countries all around the world, though the EU is the biggest destination. The Wolseley name has essentially zero awareness in most global markets. It was always weak on the European continent with a few exceptions like the Netherlands – and was dropped on the continent by British Leyland by 1972 – in advance of the UK. And it disappeared from Australia in 1966, South Africa in 1971 and was essentially never present in the USA post-war (though Canada got them)
      And even in the UK Wolseley branding would leave most of today’s consumers baffled. There might be grounds for a special edition with Wolseley badges for the UK market (and – at a stretch – New Zealand & Ireland). But overall what’s important for the people who build it and for the UK economy is that it sells well globally – and Nissan (with high awareness round the world and of course a global distribution network) is definitely a stronger bet than Wolseley.

      • Wolseley is now as Chinese as MG and most of BL’s former brands Jaguar/Rover/Land Rover excepted.

        SAIC had to create Roewe which is the Chinese pronunciation for Rover to avoid fighting against Ford who then owned Land Rover.

        Amazingly BMW kept Triumph and Riley.

        What for ?

  5. That’s not true.
    Barcelona was a good plant, as you may know PSA, Mercedes, Opel, Ford, Seat and Renault produce twice the quantity produced in the Uk , no quality and efficiency problems.
    Production in the UK 2019 ; 1,3M, in Spain : 2,8M.
    But there was one plant too much for a slow selling brand, and as nationalists they try to fill the domestic production gap. They will stop producing in France, they have stopped producing in Korea and Thailand?
    Having the engineering in Cranfield to drive a Spanish plant did not really make sense.
    Sunderland is much more modern and then more efficient, true.
    Moreover Brexit was a good opportunity with a weak Sterling.

  6. Two random comments. First: why do designers put such ridiculously oversized wheels on their concept drawings? Second: I’m pleased to learn there are knows. I’ve had several experiences with touchscreen HVAC controls lately, none of them rewarding. You can’t beat knobs.

  7. I’ve driven Qashqais (hire cars) in the past and really liked them apart from one aspect – the weedy powertrains. I wouldn’t consider buying one for this reason. Where are the properly high performing models to compete with the so-called premium makers ? They should at least produced a Nismo version.

  8. As a North easterner myself and was involved with Nissan as a client from 1984 to late 1990’s it’s amazing how successful they have been. Hard to think of the start of imports of basic Datsun cars like the Cherry, Sunny & Violet etc. would lead to a UK manufacturing plant rolling out such advanced / high tech cars nowadays.

    Also, hard to believe it’s nearly 35 years since Bluebird production began at Sunderland!

  9. The only successful Nissan in Europe. Note, Almera, Micra, Pulsar, and much before, Primera did not sell.

    • The failure of the Pulsar was one of the reasons for ending production in Spain.

      I presume Note production ended at Sunderland because the Juke was selling better & it made sense to turn the line over for making more Jukes.

  10. Buy a car with a JAPANESE nameplate on it ? NEVER NEVER NEVER !
    Whether it was made in Sunderland, Barcelona or anywhere else. Can’t even pronounce the name of the beastly thing.

      • Andy — I did reply to this yesterday but can’t see it posted anywhere. The answer is (of course) Volvo.

          • No, made with care by trolls in Gothenburg. And with Posche’s superb aluminium straight-6.
            We must stop buying ANYTHING from China.

          • Allan – they’re owned by a Chinese company. Profits will be going back to China and whilst I have no doubt that Volvo’s expertise is of significant value to their parent company Geely any technology sharing won’t be exclusively one way Sweden > China. And of course not all Volvos are made in Sweden nor are their ‘Volvos but without the badge’ performance stablemates Polestar. I’m surprised you’re not aware of this given your strong anti-oriental bias. Being concerned about the CCP and by extension state-owned companies is reasonable given the horrendous manner in which the CCP is behaving at the minute towards their Uyghur population and Hong Kong (not to mention that these are only the most recent of a history of CCP abuses). From ignoring copyright law to human rights abuses there’s good reasons to be concerned about Chinese-made products, although unfortunately it’s highly impractical at the moment to attempt to boycott them. You can at least take comfort that Geely isn’t state-owned. Why anti-Japanese, though? They’re hardly responsible for the death of the British-owned car industry – that was already going down the pan before they started importing into the UK let alone setting up factories here. However, for the most part they worked well with Rover and their factories have provided steady employment in the UK for close to 40 years now, something that can hardly be said of the UK’s favourite brand Ford.

        • The Volvo may be made by trolls in Gothenburg, but Volvo is ultimately owned by Geely which is a Chinese conglomerate.

          • Who actually takes home the profit from making the car is pretty much irrelevant. I buy my cars to last 20 years. My present collection are on the way to doing that – because they were made by trolls in Gothenberg.
            Volvos represent what British cars should have been. We almost got it back with the last Rover but greed and ineptitude put paid to that.

          • @Allan – so if it’s not who trousers the profit, what is it that botheres you about Japanese companies that doesn’t bother you about Chinese Geely? Sorry, it seems a shame to spoil an otherwise positive article with posts on this topic but this attitude towards what these days is a huge proportion of the UK car industry (cars with Japanese nameplates) seems irrational and somewhat damaging.

          • This is similar to the JLR being Indian argument – The cars are designed in Sweden, developed in Sweden and built in Sweden using a range of European ( so probably German) components – The fact that Geely are their holding company is as irrelevant as Tata owning JLR – Both Geely and Tata are international conglomerates that just happen to be anchored in India/China. There is only one reason anyone could object to this, but I don’t want to cast aspersions….

  11. The problem is not the nameplate but so-far and Qashqai apart, strange aesthetics and not that cheap. The reason why they don’t sell in Europe.
    Suzuki, Mazda, Mitsubishi are unknown, Honda just for those over 50 who remember the 1st Civics, Nissan is vanishing, Toyota did well with the Prius but now there are numerous competitors, RAV4 sells a little. Yaris and Micra are made in France but you do not see any !!
    Japanese taste is not European taste.
    And in the US they are all moving from Toyota-Honda to Hyundai.
    Let’s see how Sunderland will survive with the Qashqai facing the Peugeot 3008, Opel, Citroen and future Alfa sibblings, the Renault Kadjar II to come early 2022, Ford Kuga, some new Jeeps …

    • With regard to Philippe’s comments, if he’s talking about France, then yes, there has always been resistance to Japanese badged cars and sales have been low, not helped by quotas in the past. Over here, Nissan, Toyota and Suzuki continue to sell well, Mitsubishis are still popular as pick up trucks and SUVs, but Honda’s sales are slumping due to high prices, Subaru seem to have become invisible and Mazda have never been much more than bit players, even if the cars are good.

  12. Great to read a positive article about Nissan here, a car massively more British than any of the SAIC MGs or indeed the BMW Mini.

  13. I find it extremely difficult to label any vehicle as being identifiably from one particular country, and the Qashqui is no different from other vehicles in this respect. To what extent is it British, French or indeed Chinese? In driving, it is indifferent although at long last a bit jazzy to look at, but still feels well behind the curve despite being ‘European’ in design – just the thing Brits have been educated to buy. However it bears poor comparison to the efforts of Hyundai-Kia who have continually improved their products well beyond that low bar.

    As regards selecting which markets to build and/or market which cars, each manufacturer/assembler has a wide range of parameters to blend and thus justify model/plant investment/profitability. Very few CEO’s are capable of fully understanding and achieving the ‘right’ blend of conditions and risk-taking to enable multi-mode success. This is why there is an endless economics/financial inquisition going on in all VM boardrooms. Those involved will not be sensitive to patriotic factors when economic factors are imperative.

    It looks impossible to say any product has any national identity when whole vehicles are sub-contracted and major assemblies such as power sources and fixings are sourced world-wide. Brand nameplates would be extreme individual examples, e.g., Mini and MG.

  14. “still feels well behind the curve despite being ‘European’ in design” ; can-you explain ? Comfort ? Roadholding ?

  15. I personally would never buy a Qashqai – I don’t really see the point of a pseudo-off roader that has the bulk but not the ability of a 4×4 and similar space to a regular hatch. However, I agree the company should be supported in the UK given the same factory produces the trailblazing Leaf. How involved were the British design team in that? I’d imagine it’s the most popular British-built electric car by a long way at the minute.

    It’s good that Nissan feel the investment they’ve already made in the UK is worth sustaining despite Brexit. I know I’ll get pulled up on the ‘despite Brexit’ bit but their decision to invest doesn’t take away the fact that disrupting so many supply chains and putting up barriers to our biggest market without any kind of prior plan was spectacularly irresponsible. Nissan clearly has a significant presence in the UK beyond just manufacturing. Recreating that elsewhere – along with disrupting what will already have been advanced plans for the newly-launched Qashqai – would have been very costly and potentially damaging to them. That Brexit hasn’t driven Nissan to do this is of great relief but hardly some sort of ‘Brexit bonus’. Brexiters would still do well to be a bit more humble. It is entirely reasonable and appropriate for people to be concerned at the potential loss of such a significant employer in a part of the country that can ill afford its loss. This was a bullet dodged.

    • Fully agree with this. We should support this and get behind them to make sure they think the investment has paid off. The plans may have been advanced enough that this making this in Sunderland was not derailed by brexit but can we be sure the next version will survive ?

  16. When the Railways transitioned from steam traction to diesel, major locomotive constructors including eminent players such as Baldwin of the USA and North British of Glasgow could not make the transition and they (and others) fell by the wayside. The change from the IC powered car to the electric car is a similar challenge to the car industry and is only 9 years in the future, less in some cases, Jaguar, 2025,.
    When I look at an IC car I see a multitude of medium-value components which are “hard work” for engineers to develop to a high standard, they are, engine, transmission, emissions systems, the rest of the car seems to be straightforward. In the case of an electric car, I see one high-value component, the traction battery , the rest of the car is straightforward. The IC car has many variations in engines (cylinders and capacity) , transmissions, and emissions systems. the electric car will have fewer variations and more standardisation in powertrain systems.
    Will Nissan be one of the makers who survive the transition?
    I do see Brexit as a problem to the car makers, but I also see the transition to electrification as a greater threat than Brexit

    • I doubt that you are correct about costs of various components. The major cost in a motor car of any sort is the body tooling, the amortization of which can easily amount to 50% of the cost of the car. Mechanical items, on the other hand are pretty cheap to make except perhaps for forged components

      • I base my assessment on an article about the VW MQB shared platform which stated 60% of the development costs are forward of the gas pedal to the front wheels, this leaves 40% for the rest of the car, do you have any alternative references?

        • @cyclist true speaking platform, wrong speaking upper-body. Upper-body dies are very costly.

  17. The Renault Nissan Alliance masters the technologie. Look at Zoe and Leaf, well ahead in their time, Zoe still strong 9 years old ! MeganEV ans Ariya just popping in.

    • Zoe is a one of this few electric cars that I would buy if I could actually charge one up. It looks like a normal car without any strange looks, has good range and is very reliable.

      • Same here, I live in a flat & can’t have a charging point fitted.

        I’ll probably get a self charging hybrid as my next car, hopefully by the time I’m finished with that electric cars can be charged in just a few minutes.

        • @ Richard 16378, I’ll go electric when the cars have a range of 400 miles and charging is as easy and quick as filling a petrol tank. I imagine it’s only a matter of time.
          With regard to Cyclist’s points about the end of petrol and diesel engines, this doesn’t bode well for factories like Dagenham and Hams Hall that are engine plants. Unless they can convert to making batteries, the future does look bleak by the end of the decade. Also expect a big shakeout in companies that make parts for these engines like filters as demand declines and in garages as servicing and MOT testing becomes simpler.

          • By the time Electric cars take over from IC engines I probably won’t be driving then! In any case there will still be petrol engined cars around for a while yet.

          • Dagenham in particular must be at risk. Why convert it to produce batteries or electric powertrains there when Ford have no UK assembly plants? Indeed as a diesel only factory it must already be feeling the pinch. Similarly Ford/Getrag have a gearbox factory at Halewood, that’s also something which will be rendered obsolete

            If BMW continue to make Minis in the UK, then that improves the chance of Hams Hall being converted. Coincidentally JLR are building a battery plant at Hams Hall, next to the BMW engine plant

  18. Yes, but does Nissan (and others)have the funds to re-equip for a non – IC production, and, possibly more important, do they have a strong balance sheet to withstand the costs of the major write-downs of factory equipment and staff etc, who will be either obsolete or surplus to needs in the near future?

  19. They seem to recover, their Q1 2021 was far better – still a negative figure anyway – than the 2 previous years hudge loss.

  20. In a few minutes I do not believe, this would need 1m diameter wires but say with better capacity batteries, more charging stations. You cannot go against the physics limitations.

  21. @Glenn that’s exactly what Stellantis is doing : creating a hudge battery plant in Douvrin to close smoothly “La Française de Mecanique” which produced many gasoline engines, the most famous being the PRV 90° V6 and the 2nd PR 60° V6.
    No announcement from Renault-Nissan so far but either Cleon or Valladolid Motores will have to.

  22. “The plans may have been advanced enough that this making this in Sunderland was not derailed by brexit but can we be sure the next version will survive ?”

    With Electrification/last new IC engined car set for 2030, I think this Qashqai may be the last of the breed, a new model Qashqai in 2026 would only have a few years of sales life. Jaguar too, I’m not expecting another new Jaguar as we know them, the all-electric date for Jaguar is 2025, and there is the price tag, £100,000 + for a new Jag , from 2025, as Jaguar abandon the cut-price premuim market for BMW and Mercedes products

    • There is also a battery factory planned for Blyth, about 30 miles from Sunderland, that will create 3000 jobs. It seems that the motor industry in the North East could become just as important as shipbuilding was in the 20th century.

      • 300 000 batteries in 2027 ? What for ? Not for Peugeot nor Vauxhall, not for Nissan. Mini ? JLR ?

  23. @Allan Porsche straight six ? IMHO Volvo now sticks to 4, had a Volvo six and a Yamaha V8.

  24. “Industry sources expect the scale and size of the new facility may closely match that of a new facility in Douai, France recently announce by Renault ”

    Wonder how with such a weak vehicle production they could match the Douai facility dedicated to at least 500 000 vehicles with the complete Renault future range 2023 – 2025. MeganEV, Scenic new SUV EV, Renault 5 EV, Renault 4 EV and even the PHEV range.

    • Nissan produce around 500000 vehicles a year at Sunderland. Over the years no doubt more and more will be electric, you imagine Nissan will have new electric vehicles on the way to go alongside the Leaf.

      • The Sunderland plant had two lines, each capable of a max 300 thousand units a year. Thus far it has never built 600 thousand units a year, a little over 500 thousand is its peak so far. However it’s currently building about 350thousand per annum. If Nissan is to build its own batteries, I do wonder where the batteries from Blyth will be destined. I guess the reason for that location was because they thought they’d supply Nissan. Is the Blyth gigaplant now in jeopardy??

        • Nissan is going mad. The cooperation with Renault is getting lower and lower since Ghosn’s departure, and the debt is getting higher and higher. By contract Renault is only owner but not allowed to lead the company, and without any executive exchange there is no way to have a good synergy between the 2 companies. Luca di Meo has a good understanding of the situation, he makes proposals, they disagree, he lets down and goes his own way. The worst are the billions plumbing Renault’s results end of each year. 5 out of 8 in 2020 !

  25. Philippe – right now I see the announcement as good news. As for capacity and demand I guess we will see what happens and who the winners and losers will be as the EV revolution takes place. This is still only the beginning of the story.

  26. I am still of the view that unless we are very fortunate, electric vehicles will turn out to be a blind alley. I was fascinated to see an advertisement for an EV which stated that it could be recharged , sufficient for 100 kms ( actually it said 62 miles ) in 5 minutes. What it did not say, except in very small print just flashed on the screen momentarily, was that this was with a 365KW charging point. That alone is frightening because electricity in such quantities is dangerous stuff if anything should go wrong. What was even more chilling was that on the same day I was reading a 1930s book ( Science for the Citizen, by Lancelot Hogben ) which stated that in the 1930s the entire London Transport was run on 50,000 KW . So charging only 137 of these cars would absorb the same energy as the entire London system . And we have about 28 million vehicles !!?? Go figure as the Americans say

    • The 50,000KW figure presumably was pretty constant while the Underground was running (say 18hrs a day?) rather than a 5 minute ‘shot’ so you could charge rather more than 137 cars for the equivalent consumption.

      I think if anything the argument is stronger if you compare with current London Transport, the extent and frequency of which will be more familiar to people than the 1930s service. The London Overground and Underground network together consumes approx. 1.2TWh per year. The Underground alone is used by some 2m people per day. London has 2.56m registered cars. Charging each one 5 minutes per day at 365KW would consume around 28.4TWh per year. There’s plenty of other factors in play – many people drive more than 62 miles per day but most drive less and presumably slow charging (which would be more common) is more efficient than fast. Still, it’s an astonishing difference and goes to show that even though electric cars are worthwhile there’s still a huge benefit to having a decent public transport system.

      • Chris : I think it probably also included the trolleybuses ! And while I take your point about slower charge rates probably being more efficient, the real problem is that the vast majority of people in cities have not practicable access to a charging point at present. However, some Canadian cities may be a pointer to a future model , where plug in heaters from parking meters are common

        • Parking meters have completely disappeared from France at least. Only one ticket vending machine or a smartphone application. If charging stations were as slim as a parking meter they could come back but I doubt when I see current ones.

        • I think you misunderstand the difference between capacity 105MW and usage quoted by Hogben ( 50MW). I have no reason to disbelieve what Hogben wrote. No doubt if you have other evidence, you will cite it

  27. People in the North East now realise coal and shipbuilding are dead and any sentimentality for the good old days of these industries is only felt among the elderly. The car industry and support industries like battery production, along with financial services, offshore engineering, pharmaceuticals and IT, are now the main drivers of the region’s economy.

    • I’m in my 60s now (elderly or not?!). Indeed the transition of North East industries occurred in the mid 80s to early 90s when the last Shipbuilders closed, the Coal Mines closed and hi tech industries as well as Nissan started getting established.

      When most car production had always been in the Midlands it was quite a change when the North East attracted Nissan – just as well we did. Long may it continue.

      Having said that I never had doubts that Northerners capable of building huge vessels could turn their hands to anything

      • @ Hilton d, I’m 53 and can remember Swan Hunters at Wallsend and 4.00 when thousands of men emerged from the gates to the car parks and the bus stops, and later the Metro. Obviously the closure of these places caused severe unemployment, although it has to be said some of the shipyards were nationalised lame ducks relying on government contracts and died when they ran out of work. Something like Nissan is a highly successful private company producing products people want to buy and is far better for Sunderland than coal, which has died due to a collapse in demand, and shipyards scrapping for a declining number of contracts.

        • “Nissan is a highly successful private company” was not in the nineties, close to bankruptcy, needed a lot of Renault managers and technology to come back. And now plumbs Renault’s finances again.

  28. I’m running a Qashqai 2 (J11) at the moment and whilst it’s not really my kind of car I have to admit it’s very good at what it does. It’s very easy to use and live with and I can entirely understand the appeal. The original Juke was a massive success and a mate has the new one – he really rates it and it seems an excellent car. The Sunderland factory is of course one of the world’s best.

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