• Jun 3, 2008


Click on the above sketch for a high-res gallery of the Micra 160 SR

After sharing tea at Nissan's European Design Centre in central London, Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO of Nissan Motor Company, and the Right Honorable Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, released the news that Nissan will design and build an all-new compact car in the UK's Sunderland plant. The car, a dedicated A-platform, will be used for several new models, including the next-gen Micra. According to the press release posted after the jump, the new Nissan will fill the void created when the current version of the Nissan Micra ends production in 2010. A boon for the local economy, the Sunderland facility employs 4,700 Brits who helped produce 374,000 vehicles in 2007. Nearly 80-percent of those were exported, making Nissan the largest vehicle exporter in the United Kingdom.



PRESS RELEASE

NISSAN ANNOUNCES NEW VEHICLE FOR SUNDERLAND PLANT


LONDON, Tuesday 3rd June, 2008 - Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., today announced that it will source an innovative all-new compact car from its Sunderland plant in the United Kingdom (UK), starting in 2010. Building on the success of the Qashqai, the all-new product will reinforce Sunderland's role as manufacturer and exporter of high-value products.

The decision was announced following a visit today by the British Prime Minister, the Right Honorable Gordon Brown, to Nissan's European Design Centre in central London where he met Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO, Nissan Motor Co.

The Prime Minister said, "Nissan is a global manufacturer with strong roots in Britain and I'm pleased to welcome Nissan's new investment in the UK. Today's announcement that a brand new car is to be designed and built in the UK is another important boost to our manufacturing industry, and builds upon Nissan's recent commitments to increase investment and jobs at its record breaking Sunderland plant.

"Sunderland's success shows what an innovative, talented and highly committed workforce can achieve, and reaffirms the UK's position as a strong player in the global car industry," he added.

Carlos Ghosn said, "By delivering on tough commitments, our employees at Sunderland have demonstrated our plant can be a globally competitive centre for the production of high-value products. We are encouraged by the proactive support shown by the British government to decide new products for the Sunderland plant."

The all-new vehicle will be an addition to the current Nissan range and for the Sunderland plant, and it will take up the manufacturing capacity created when production of the current version of the Micra ends in 2010.

Next generation Micra

Nissan will compete in the entry-car market with a dedicated new A platform that will be used for at least three models, including the next generation of Micra, and will be built in five Leading Competitive Countries (LCCs).

Production sites for this family of compact cars will include the new plant in Chennai, India, being constructed by the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The development of a competitive A platform is one of several business breakthroughs announced as part of Nissan GT 2012, the company's new five-year business plan.

The Nissan plant in Sunderland produced a record 374,000 vehicles in fiscal year 2007. Nissan is the largest vehicle exporter from the UK, with around 80% of production sold outside of the country. Together with the engine assembly plant and other facilities, Sunderland currently employs 4,700 workers.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      7 second 0-60 is only available less than 15% of the cars on the road today, and that is when using left-foot braking acceleration techniques. That is not the norm for the US, so I am speaking for the majority, not some speed-addled minority who knows not of what they speak.
      • 6 Years Ago
      why dont they introduce these kinda cars in USA?
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Tuna,

        The motorways in the UK are posted at 70mph but usually go between that and 90+ in the fast lane atleast. The micra has no problems with that kind of environment. However, with your freeways being full of generally much larger vehicles I can imagine feeling a little unprotected in the micra. The micra, as with things like the smart etc is probably more suitable for city driving where parking is difficult etc.

        A small car like a micra wouldn't be my main car but if I needed a run around for the city, something like it would be great.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Roads full of full size trucks and SUVs? Highways with single and double semi trailers? Actually highway speeds that at least 10 mph over the posted limit of (usually) 70 mph? Think about it.

        The Micra would only make sense in San Francisco where average speeds are low. It may work in NYC for parking, but speeds vary enough where it'd be too anemic to get you out of trouble. Also, a car meant for the masses has to be able to accomodate people of all shapes and sizes (I don't think I need to elaborate on that).

        Just because a certain car could work for you don't mean there is a business case for mass production. You are a case study of one, not an accurate representation of the broader picture.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Because you'd get beaten up for driving that in the states.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I got a question? Why do sub-compacts in Europe and Asia come so well equipped, but ours are featureless in comparison. This tiny little car has back up sensors, auto climate control, 6CD stereo, leather steering wheel, xenon headlights, etc.

      I'm really curious, because I'd love to see those features on U.S. spec small cars. It would make them much more desirable to consumers IMO.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree 100%, I want a small car loaded with features. The reason they aren't here like that is due to price. Not many people are willing to pay a lot for a small car in this country. We have the idea that a $30k should be a certain size, and that is changing very slowly. Competitive sub-compacts in this country are ~$15k, not $25k.

        I have no problem paying $30k for a small car, as long as it is quality and has the features I want. There are a few cars you can option up to this level, and the selection is slowing increasing. The Mini Cooper can be loaded to $30k quite easily, and it is a very nice small car. I am excited to see what Ford offers with the Fiesta, it could very easily be optioned to included everything you find in a Fusion or better.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Martin, unfortunately you can't do a direct currency conversion to compare car prices. A 3 series in the UK will cost upwards of $50,000 USD if you do a direct conversion but the same car in the U.S. costs in the $30's.

        I have a feeling they could bring a feature laden small car to the U.S. for a cheap price, but won't because they know they can sell a stripped model at the same price and make a larger profit since the U.S. consumer doesn't expect luxuries on sub-compacts.

        • 6 Years Ago
        because americans wont pay for small high price cars, (well not strictly true as the mini is expensive, but thats the exception)

        i have a fully loaded 2008 renault twingo gt, and to just do a straight conversion to dollars it comes out at over $20,000, now im pretty sure most americans would rather spend that on a dangerous and ancient suv than a tiny efficient car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Oh, those subcompacts are becoming popular here in the US as the gas prices are soaring each day!

      $8 a gallon here we come!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      During Carlos Ghosn's visit to the Nissan factory in northeast England, the local newspaper (Northern Echo) included this paragraph

      "...The future is also looking bright with Nissan announcing last month that it wants to become the world leader in electricpowered vehicles over the next five years. ..The company said it would introduce a zero-emission vehicle in the US and Japan in 2010, and mass-market vehicles around the world in 2012 - making it the first manufacturer to commit to plans to mass-market all-electric vehicles worldwide. ..A spokesman for the company said it was too early to say whether the electric vehicles would be made at the Washington plant..."

      I'm guessing that last line was a polite way of saying no it won't come there. But apparently Ghosn did take time out to go look at the Smith Electric Vehicles headquarters a few miles away.
      • 6 Years Ago
      We will eventually get cars like this.

      In order to show manufactures that you want small, quality cars, even if they cost more, you have to go buy a small car now. Load the car with options and let the dealer know that you want more/better options. In today's economy sales speak louder than words!

      GM can make a small quality car, Opel Corsa!
      Ford can make a small quality car, Ford Fiesta! (Here soon)
      Honda Fit (here, but no options)
      VW Lupo/Polo
      Audi A1
      Mini Cooper (here, tons of options)
      Toyota Vitz/Yaris (here, no options)
      Nissan Micra
      Smart ForTwo (here, junk transmission)

      The list goes on, but they have to believe that we will buy it before they invest in bringing them here with tons of options.
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