Nissan’s Sunderland factory is celebrating the production of its 10 millionth vehicle, 33 years after the first car rolled off the line.
The landmark model - a Qashqai in Vivid Blue and high-end Tekna trim - was one of the 3.4 million built in Sunderland so far. The popular crossover, which regularly features in the top 10 new car registrations by volume, is already the model of which the Wearside plant has produced the most.
Following at a distance is the Micra - of which 2,368,704 were built in the north-east of England between 1992 and 2010 - while third spot goes to the Primera. Despite being discontinued in 2007, Sunderland built almost 1.5 million examples of the family car over the course of 17 years.
Of the current crop, the second-largest production volume belongs to the Juke, more than a million of which have left the factory gates since manufacturing started in 2010. Lagging behind that is the Leaf electric vehicle, which has been in production for a similar length of time, but just over 140,000 examples have been built.
Other vehicles built at the Sunderland plant include the Bluebird, which became the first car produced by the factory in 1986. When production was halted in 1990, more than 187,000 Bluebirds had been built. Somewhat more prolific, however, were the Almera (2000-2006) and the Note (2006-2016), which saw production runs of around 642,000 and 676,000 respectively.
Furthermore, the plant also built the Nissan X-Trail seven-seat SUV and the Infiniti Q30. However, Nissan announced earlier this year that it was scrapping plans to build the new X-Trail in Sunderland, and the Infiniti brand is being phased out in Europe.
If all the cars built at the factory were parked nose-to-tail, the queue would be some 42,000 kilometres long - enough to stretch all the way around the equator. And if you divide the 10 million cars by the length of time the factory has been building cars, you find an average build rate of one car every two minutes.
“Building 10 million vehicles is a tremendous achievement for everyone associated with the plant,” said Steve Marsh, the Nissan Sunderland Plant’s vice-president for manufacturing. “Reaching this huge figure has called on all the ingenuity, commitment and spirit of our highly skilled workforce, many of who hail from the north-east of England. Together we are determined to continue to drive up the high quality standards our customers have come to expect over the last three decades.”