Nissan Qashqai, Line 1 SunderlandUK – The OEM will modify Line 2 at its Sunderland plant, at a cost of £22m ($31.2m). The unspecified extra volume will be added by the end of the year, ahead of the next phase in Qashqai development in 2017, when the model will become the first Nissan in Europe to feature piloted drive technology.

“Through innovative engineering and productivity improvements, my colleagues in Sunderland have broken production records to keep pace with demand, but our new-generation Qashqai has reached a tipping point,” said Colin Lawther, Nissan’s senior vice-president of Manufacturing, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “This additional capacity will give us free supply of Qashqai for the first time, ahead of the launch of a refreshed Qashqai equipped with piloted drive technology from next year.”

Line 1 currently makes the C-segment Qashqai plus the all-electric Nissan Leaf, operating on a three-shift basis. Line 2 produces the Nissan Juke B-segment crossover, the Nissan Note and the recently added Infiniti Q30 premium compact. The OEM says that Line 2 will continue to operate on two shifts.

Modifications to accommodate the Qashqai on Line 2 will range from body welding through painting to final assembly. Subsequently, both lines will be able to build vehicles based on the Renault-Nissan Alliance CMF-C (Common Module Family) architecture. Line 2 will also have CMF-B capability after the introduction of the next-generation Juke.

The Qashqai recently overtook the Micra supermini as the highest-volume model in the history of Nissan’s European manufacturing operations. The Sunderland plant produces Qashqais at the rate of around 1,200 per day or 300,000 per year, bringing the cumulative total to 2,398,134 units by the end of February 2016. The car is also made at St Petersburg, Russia, and at the Huadu Plant of Dongfeng Nissan in China.