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You are in: Wear > Places > Places features > The Nissan rollercoaster

Car shell at Nissan

Staff cuts have been made at Nissan

The Nissan rollercoaster

Take a look back at the news stories surrounding Nissan over the past 12 months from 800 jobs being created to 1,200 jobs being cut a year later.

Opened in 1986, Nissan's plant in Sunderland was created to expand its business throughout Europe more effectively.

In January 2008 Nissan announced an increase in production of the Qashqai model creating 800 jobs, with the hope of making 400 permanent positions in December 2008.

However, throughout the year the credit crunch and economic downturn were creating problems for the public and many businesses all over the world.

In May 2008 Nissan said, because of the slow US economy and relatively stronger yen, it expected its earnings to fall significantly.


Sparks flying at Nissan

Out with the old...

Even so, the plant in Sunderland secured the production of the Qashqai+2 model in June 2008 and went ahead with the plans to begin building the brand new model in August 2008.

On Monday, 20 October Nissan began to feel the pressure of the economic downturn more keenly and, due to a decline in demand, responded by announcing that it would halt production of the Micra and Note models.

Nissan still sold 66,336 new cars in the UK in 2008 - only 0.14% less than in 2007.

However, its sales for December 2008 fell 26.68% compared with the same month in 2007. This compared with an average decline across the industry of 21.2%.

Workers training for Nissan

Workers training at Nissan

On Tuesday, 9 December it became clear Nissan was still feeling the pinch despite a reduction in production when staff were sent home on full pay.

The staff returned on Monday, 15 December for a week before the factory's annual two week Christmas shut down.


Nissan in Japan unveiled a new £107,000 luxury sports car on Thursday 8 January, but the story on Wearside was quite different.

It was announced that Nissan in Sunderland would be cutting 1,200 jobs, about a quarter of its workforce.

Throughout January help and advice was made available to the hundreds of workers who were losing their jobs.

Staff were given guidance on retraining, updating their CVs, interview skills and benefits advice.

Cars being built on the production line

Cars on the production line

Domino effect?

Many car factories rely on a continuing run of production of parts being ordered and delivered, constructing the parts to make the car and then selling the car.

The job losses and halt in production are expected to have a knock-on effect on other businesses who rely on the company to buy their products.

A car components factory, which supplies parts to Nissan, has already axed 200 temporary and 96 permanent jobs on Tuesday 6 January according to the Unite union.

Davey Hall, from the Unite Union, described the situation as a "ticking time-bomb" when predicting there will be more job losses in the supply companies.

Alan Clarke, One NorthEast chief executive and chairman of the Nissan Response Group, said: "Help for staff will begin quickly through the new jobs and advice centre with our aim being to get redundant employees back into work as quickly as possible."

Number crunch

On Monday 9 February 2009 Nissan announced it would cut its global workforce by 20,000 jobs gradually from March 2009 to March 2010. It wasn't made clear exactly where the cuts would be made.

The Japanese carmaker made the announcement as it said it expected to make a loss of 265bn yen ($2.9bn; £2bn) for its current financial year.

Security for 2010?

The Sunderland plant will be building the newest model, the five-door Qazana, from mid-2010 as the production of the Micra comes to an end.

It will not only secure around 1,000 jobs at Nissan but it's expected to secure 2,000 jobs in the "local supply base".

For pictures of the Qazana and the full news story click here:

Freezing applications

On Thursday 12 March it was announced that so many people applied for voluntary severance that the company had frozen the opportunity for new applications.

However, a spokesman said compulsory redundancies might still be necessary.

Funding for fuel-efficiency

On Tuesday 7 April it was announced that the Nissan plant in Sunderland will be awarded a share of €400 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to build more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Nissan workers

British-built Nissan cars

The funding is the first money provided to any carmaker in the UK since the financial crisis began.

Reaction from the 2009 budget

The chancellor unveiled the scheme, in which cars more than 10 years old would be scrapped in return for the discount, in his budget on Wednesday 22 April. This scheme then led to the creation of 150 short-term jobs at the plant.

Trevor Mann, Nissan Europe Senior Vice President, said it was a positive move but he raised concerns about the financial contribution expected from already cash-strapped manufacturers.

Nissan then said it would extend the offer to cars more than eight years old for anyone buying a new British-built Nissan.

last updated: 05/06/2009 at 10:51
created: 16/01/2009

You are in: Wear > Places > Places features > The Nissan rollercoaster

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