SUNDERLAND, UK - Nissan's Sunderland plant builds the Micra supermini and upper-medium Primera. It will start making the replacement for the lower-medium Almera, code-named HS, in 2000. Current capacity is 170,000 Micras and 140,000 Primeras.
The introduction of the HS will raise capacity by about 20 percent, and add 800 jobs in the plant.
Paint and assembly lines for the Primera and Micra will be modified to take the HS, but only the Micra's line in the body shop will be affected.
The HS will share a platform with a new multi-purpose vehicle that will be built in Barcelona, Spain.
It is a global product, says John Cushnaghan, deputy managing director at Sunderland. Japan will build a four-door version, Sunderland the three- and five-door versions, and Mexico will probably produce a sedan for the North American market.
The Micra, introduced in 1992, will have its first major facelift this year. The new version goes on sale starting in May. Among the changes is the addition of a 1.5-liter diesel supplied by Peugeot, together with the transmission and about 100 parts for engine dressing.
The Primera, introduced in 1990, received a major facelift in 1996. The wagon version started production in January.