DAVID Cameron received a boost to his handling of the economy yesterday when Nissan revealed plans to invest £127m and create more than 1,000 jobs by building a new hatchback in Britain.
Cameron, currently on a trade mission to Japan and south east Asia, hailed the move as a “vote of confidence” in the skills and flexibility of Britain’s workforce.
Nissan said the new vehicle would create 225 jobs at its Sunderland factory and 900 more in the supply chain. It will take manufacturing capacity at Britain’s largest car plant beyond 550,000 vehicles a year when production begins in 2014.
As part of the deal Japan’s second-largest carmaker will receive £8.2m from Britain’s regional growth fund, set up to kick-start the recovery.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan’s vice president for manufacturing in Britain, told the BBC: “It’s a big vote for the car industry… The car industry in the UK is pretty buoyant at the moment, particularly the companies which have strong products and strong export markets.”
The new investment is on top of £125m Nissan said it would spend to build its new Invitation compact vehicle in Sunderland from mid-2013.
Cameron has taken about 35 executives from defence, energy, construction and other industries on his visit to the Far East. He also invited executives from architecture, infrastructure firms and the nuclear industry as Britain hopes to pick up some of the cleaning and rebuilding work on the aftermath of last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.
He will also hold talks with Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda on the state violence in Syria and on relations with Iran and North Korea. On Friday he is due to become the first major Western leader to meet Burmese pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi since she won a seat in parliament.