Nissan builds one millionth example of vehicle with name nobody can pronounce

Nissan Qashqai – Click above for high-res image gallery

Few companies do crossovers quite like Nissan. Even after setting aside actual SUVs like the Xterra, Pathfinder and Armada, Infiniti's offerings QX, EX and FX, and the crossovers its developed for its sister company Renault like the new Koleos, the Japanese automaker produces its own crossovers by, well... the truckload. Here we've got the Rogue, the Juke, and the Murano, joined overseas by such models as the Patrol/Safari, the X-Trail, and this, the Qashqai.

You may not be familiar with this particular CUV (pronounced "KASH-ky") because it's not sold in North America, but it's closest in size and mission to our Rogue. Available in standard five-seat and long-wheelbase seven-seat configurations, the Qashqai was launched in 2007 and facelifted in 2010. It's offered with a range of four-cylinder engines, driving either the front wheels or all four through CVT or manual transmissions, and takes on the likes of the Kia Sportage and Mitsubishi Outlander. It's also popular in the Japanese and Australian markets, where it's known as the Dualis.

In addition to production in Japan and Iran (whose nomadic tribe Turkic Qashqai gives it its name), the crossover is built primarily in the UK at Sunderland, where the vehicle's production has just passed the million-made mark, standing as one of the most prolific automobiles ever made there. In fact, no other vehicle has reached that number in such a short time in Britain's considerable automaking history.

According to Nissan, over the course of the four-and-a-half years of production, Qashqai production at Synderland has accounted for as much steel as is being used to build all the facilities that will support London's Olympic games next year. And if you line up every Qashqai produced at the Sunderland plant, they'd measure 2,700 miles end-to-end – that's enough to line Britain's entire coastline.

Not about to stop there, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn recently announced during a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron that an all-new Qashqai will be entirely designed, engineered and built in the UK. Follow the jump for the full press release.
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Sunderland, UK -

- UK-built Nissan Qashqai joins Millionaires' Row
- The original Crossover passes production milestone in record time
- Landmark car to go on display at The O2 in London

Staff at Nissan Sunderland Plant are today celebrating the production of their one millionth Nissan Qashqai, cementing its position as one of the most successful British-built cars ever.

The landmark vehicle was driven off the production line four years, six months and 23 days after production began on December 5, 2006. No other UK-built car has reached the million mark in such a short space of time.

The silver 2.0-litre diesel TEKNA Qashqai will now go on display at The O2 Arena in London and one lucky person will win the special car.

Today's production milestone comes just two weeks after President and Chief Executive Officer of Nissan Motor Co., Carlos Ghosn, announced during a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron that the next version of the Qashqai will be designed, engineered and built in the UK. This will take the total Nissan investment in the UK for Qashqai past £422 million.

The Nissan Qashqai is easily the highest-volume car produced in the UK. Future Qashqai production will safeguard the jobs of 6,000 people at Nissan and in the UK supply chain.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan Vice President for Manufacturing in the UK, said: "The Nissan Qashqai has been a phenomenal success since its start of production just four and a half years ago. Qashqai was a real crossover pioneer and producing one million in such a short space of time is a fantastic achievement, not just by staff at the Sunderland Plant, but also by the designers and engineers who developed such a popular car and our dealer network who have helped to generate such high demand."

UK Business Minister Mark Prisk said: "The Qashqai is a success story for both Nissan and the UK. With the millionth car coming off the production line, the Sunderland, Cranfield and Paddington workforce should take great pride in its popularity. It's great news that they will be able to build on their success with the recent announcement that the UK has been chosen to design, engineer and build the new Qashqai model."

Paul Everitt, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: "The UK is home to some of the world's most productive automotive facilities making cars that are in demand across the globe. Landmarks such as today's announcement from Nissan serve to reinforce this, demonstrating the importance of manufacturing to our economy and its contribution to an export-led recovery."

Manufactured on Line 1 at Nissan Sunderland Plant, the Qashqai has been one of Nissan's most successful products to date. A third shift was launched on Line 1 in June 2008 to meet demand for Qashqai, allowing 24-hour production to take place at the factory. This was withdrawn in January 2009 in response to the global financial crisis, then reinstated in May 2010. Since then the plant has been working round the clock to meet demand.

On average, 1,200 Qashqais per day are produced at the plant, or one every minute that the production line is working. More than 80 per cent of Qashqai production is exported to 97 markets worldwide from the Port of Tyne.

The Qashqai is firmly established as one of the UK's Top 10 best-selling cars, and was the fourth best-selling model in the C-segment across Europe in the 2010 Fiscal Year. Its top five markets were the UK, Italy, Germany, Spain and France. The car's many accolades include top ranking for four consecutive years from the ADAC breakdown organisation in Germany, one of Europe's most demanding quality surveys.

Nissan Sunderland Plant also produces the Note mini-MPV and the Juke compact crossover on Line 2 of the factory. The plant will manufacture the 100% electric Nissan LEAF from 2013.

Two other models have previously passed the million production mark at Nissan Sunderland Plant - the Nissan Micra (2.3 million units produced from 1992-2010) and the Nissan Primera (1.4 million units produced from 1990-2007).

Details of the competition to win the millionth Qashqai will be announced soon.

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