Tyne & Wear

Sunderland Nissan plant starts production of new Juke

New Nissan Juke Image copyright Nissan
Image caption The Juke is one of three models built at Sunderland

Car giant Nissan has begun production of a new Juke model at its Sunderland plant - hours after it was revealed night shifts were being scrapped.

About 3,000 of the plant's 7,000 workers are being moved from night shifts to day-time working.

The Japanese firm said it had invested £100m in the plant, which also makes the Qashqai and electric Leaf models.

However, it said it was still awaiting clarification about the UK's trading relationship with the EU after Brexit.

Last week, Nissan said plans to build a new version of its Qashqai on Wearside were still on track following speculation it could change its mind if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Nissan car plant in Sunderland was opened in 1986

On Wednesday, union leaders revealed night shifts at Sunderland would end. Although no job losses were predicted, staff involved will lose a night shift allowance.

Nissan had said the current rate of output - about 440,000 cars a year - would be maintained by the remaining two day shifts.

Local Labour MP Sharon Hodgson said she was "extremely concerned" at the removal of the night shift, adding that it fuelled "worries" about the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the plant.

The new Juke has been designed and manufactured in the UK, aimed specifically at European markets, with two-thirds of its components coming from the EU and 70% of production destined for the continent.

Image copyright Nissan
Image caption About 7,000 people are employed at the Sunderland plant

European chairman Gianluca de Ficchy said: "Thirty-five years ago Nissan decided to create a plant in the UK to serve our European markets.

"Ten million vehicles later, Sunderland is the biggest UK car plant in history."

The company said some additional manufacturing staff would be taken on to support production of the new Juke.

Earlier this year, Nissan announced it was ending the production of two of its Infiniti cars at Sunderland, with the loss of 250 jobs.

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