Earlier this year, Nissan confirmed that the successor to the Leaf electric hatchback, widely expected to be a crossover, will be made at its plant in Sunderland, UK.
But Nissan’s next-generation entry-level EV, whose name hasn’t been confirmed yet, may not be the brand’s only all-electric vehicle made in the UK.
Reports from UK media, including from Sky News and Financial Times, claim the Japanese automaker will announce on Friday that the Sunderland plant will also build electric successors to the Juke and Qashqai, two of its best-selling models in Europe.
Citing “people briefed on the plans,” FT claims Nissan will announce on November 24 an investment of over 1 billion pounds ($1.25 billion) in the Sunderland plant to build two new electric models.
According to the report, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to visit the factory site on Friday for the announcement that will be delivered by Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida.
Sky News claims Nissan will commit to manufacturing future electric versions of the Juke and Qashqai at its UK plant following months of talks with the government. One of the sources told the website that there’s a “significant government funding guarantee” attached to the plans.
However, it’s unclear whether the UK government will offer any taxpayer cash up front for the project.
Nissan already builds gas-powered Juke and Qashqai crossovers in Sunderland and last year also began making electrified variants for both models at the site—the Qashqai e-Power and Juke Hybrid.
If the reports are accurate, the announcement would secure the future of Nissan’s Sunderland plant for many years to come. Currently, the site directly employs 6,000 people and indirectly contributes to the existence of thousands of jobs in the local supply chain.
In 2021, Nissan and its battery partner AESC, owned by China’s Envision, announced a 1 billion pound investment at the Sunderland site to build a large-scale battery cell plant that will supply batteries for the Nissan Leaf successor. The Nissan Leaf’s battery pack is currently supplied by AESC.
It’s unclear whether AESC will increase investment in the Sunderland battery plant to produce batteries for the future electric Juke and Qashqai as well, according to unnamed sources cited by FT.
Nissan’s production update would be the latest in a series of positive news for the UK car industry, following BMW Group’s plans to invest 600 million pounds ($750 million) to produce Mini EVs at its Oxford plant, and JLR parent company Tata’s July announcement that it will build a 4 billion pound ($5 billion) battery gigafactory in the UK.