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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 February, 2005, 06:23 GMT
New Nissan car 'will secure jobs'
Nissan Qashqai
The Qashqai is the latest car to be built on Wearside
Nissan has announced it is to build a new family car at its Sunderland plant, which the firm says will help to safeguard 1,000 jobs.

Development and manufacturing of the model, called the P32L or Qashqai, has been boosted by a 5m grant from the Department of Trade and Industry

The announcement was made on Tuesday by Trade and Industry Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, ahead of a visit to the plant.

In 2004, 320,000 cars were built at the plant, of which 79.5% were exported.

Ms Hewitt said: "I am delighted to announce the offer of 5m of Regional Selective Assistance to help Nissan develop this crucially important model.

'Real testament'

"This announcement marks an important development for Nissan and is great news for Sunderland, safeguarding over 1,000 jobs here and countless others in the supply chain."

"Nissan's continued investment in the skills of its workforce has helped the company boost its productivity and remain globally competitive.

"This is demonstrated by the fact that Sunderland has been the most productive car plant in Europe for the past seven years, and is a real testament to their workforce and the company's all-round capabilities."

Nissan's operations in Sunderland began in 1984, with the first vehicle coming off the production line in 1986.

The plant currently produces the Almeria, Primera and Micra models.

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