Nissan's Sunderland Plant has started production of its newest model, the Qashqai+2.

The model brings the total number of new model launches at Sunderland within the last five years to five. And earlier this year, Nissan's CEO and President, Carlos Ghosn, confirmed a new compact crossover car will be produced at Sunderland in 2010.

Following the success of the original model, Qashqai+2 was designed and engineered in Europe to suit customers' tastes across the European market. Qashqai+2, unveiled at last month's British International Motor Show, builds on the practicality and versatility of the original award-winning Qashqai with more space and a flexible seven-seat configuration, adding another dimension to the Nissan crossover offering.

European sales of the original Qashqai have now topped 235,000 since its launch in March 2007, and when the seven-seat version goes on sale next month it will confirm Nissan's position as the crossover pioneer.

Nissan Qashqai +2

In June, 850 new posts were created to support the introduction of a third production shift at Sunderland to help meet excellent customer demand for the 5-seat Qashqai, as well as expected demand for the new car.

Together, Qashqai and Qashqai+2 represent £223 million of investment including design, research & development, vendor tooling and plant preparation.

Trevor Mann, senior vice president for manufacturing, Europe, said: "Qashqai has experienced unprecedented success in Europe and we are now looking forward to building on this with the launch of Qashqai+2.

"In total, we expect our production target for both versions of Qashqai to be around 270,000 cars in the 2008 Financial Year, but of course this depends on the market. This level of volume will contribute to another record production year at our Sunderland plant with an estimated 450,000 vehicles coming off the line.

"I would like to congratulate and pay tribute to the Sunderland workforce for their efforts in meeting the demand for a very popular car, and thank them in advance for delivering Qashqai+2 to our customers to the same exacting standards."

Deliveries of Qashqai+2 will begin on 18 September 2008, with prices ranging from £17,199 for the two-wheel drive 2.0 litre petrol Visia to £23,799 for the top spec four-wheel drive Tekna 2.0 litre diesel.

Qashqai+2 at a glance:

  • Wheelbase extended by 135 mm
  • Overall length increases by 210 mm
  • Overall height increases by 38 mm
  • Fold flat third row of seats
  • Under floor storage in larger load area
  • Unique styling features and extra standard equipment
  • Choice of 2.0 litre petrol or diesel engines
  • Two & four-wheel drive
  • Three trim and equipment levels

Sunderland Plant facts:

  • Nissan Sunderland was established in 1984
  • The plant now represents more than £2.44 billion of investment
  • Total volume since start of production is now over 4.8 million units
  • Sunderland is the UK's largest car producer and exporter
  • Sunderland currently employs 5,000 staff
  • 2007 Production: Qashqai 164,133 units; Note 92,678 units; Micra 88,533 units; Micra C+C 5,616 units