November 8, 2014
Nissan Qashqai: Driving Change by the Millions
Nov. 7 – London – Nearly eight years since its debut, the Nissan Qashqai has not only redefined a segment, but also the UK car industry.
The defining crossover since December 2006, the Qashqai reached a milestone this week with production of its 2-millionth vehicle at Nissan’s Sunderland Plant – the fastest period to hit the mark for any UK-manufactured model.
Sunderland, where one-in-three British cars is manufactured, rolled out the new Qashqai in a magnetic red with n-tec grade, available in the second-generation model launched in January.
At the Sandicliffe Nissan dealership, the largest in the UK, sales manager Ben Hodkinson described the appeal of Europe’s best-selling crossover, which makes up 23% of his sales volume.
“I think mainly what we’ve seen from a consumer’s point of view is first and foremost the way the car looks. It’s quite an attractive proposition compared to what you’d class as an MPV – a standard people vehicle. Quite boring-looking. Whereas you have the Qashqai nice and cutting-edge with the 4×4 crossover appeal. But to me it’s the aesthetics of the car coupled with how it drives. The economy, the low-cost running, the excitement, and all the extras that are available,” said Hodkinson.
The iconic crossover has also been integral to raising the Nissan brand’s profile in the UK.
“Qashqai came out and soon they followed with the Juke, the new Note, now the Pulsar and the X-Trail . But for me the Qashqai has been the pinnacle to bring brand awareness up above and beyond anything else, with the amount they’re on the roads as well. So for me, it’s a fundamental success story.”
Nissan invested more than $850 million to make the Qashqai in the UK, utilizing its European Design Center in Paddington, European Technical Centre in Cranfield, and production at Sunderland.
A new Qashqai is made every 61 seconds, one of every five cars produced at the factory.
In London, Nissan Europe’s Senior Vice President for Manufacturing, Purchasing and Supply Chain Management, Colin Lawther, said the economic contribution from Qashqai to the UK is substantial.
“So, if you look at the UK it’s just incredible, 37% of the sales from the Nissan plant comes to the UK, so we’re selling a huge amount of Qashqais in the UK – so just from straight manufacturing and sales point of view, it’s fantastic. We keep 7,000 people employed in Sunderland – 21,000 in the local area, 40,000 people in the country. And of course, 2 million Qashqais mean there are a lot of second-hand Qashqais running on the roads.”
With an expected 300,000 rolling off the line next year, Qashqai may soon eclipse the Nissan Micra for the most vehicles ever manufactured at Sunderland.
Qashqai, now also manufactured in China and soon in Russia, is certain to set even more records ahead, while Sunderland already has its sights on 3 million cars in the near future.