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UK car manufacturing boosted by Nissan and Ford 'green' investments

Greenwise Staff
18th March 2010
The UK’s beleaguered car manufacturing industry got a much needed shot in the arm today as two car giants – Nissan and Ford –confirmed nearly £2 billion worth of new investment into the production and R&D of electric and low carbon vehicles at sites across England and Wales.
Nissan, this morning, confirmed it would manufacturer its new Leaf electric car at its Sunderland plant. The decision, together with its commitment last year to build an advanced lithium-ion battery plant in the North East, represents more than a £420 million of investment in the UK’s zero emission vehicle manufacturing sector.

Ford, meanwhile, revealed today it would be investing £1.5 billion over the next five years into the research and development (R&D) of a new generation of environmentally friendly engines and vehicle technologies at four of its UK sites.

The Nissan investment is expected to safeguard more than 2000 jobs across the supply chain in the North East and will see the car-maker producing around 50,000 Leafs a year beginning in 2013. It will make the UK the third global manufacturing location for Nissan electric vehicles, after Japan and the US.

UK's commitment to low carbon future helped to secure Nissan investment
Andy Palmer, senior vice president at Nissan Motor Co. Ltd, and responsible for the company's global EV strategy, said the UK’s commitment to a low carbon future “in terms of infrastructure, customer incentives and educational programmes” had helped secure the investment.

The project is also receiving £20.7 million of Government funding and £197 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said Nissan’s investment was vital to the UK car industry and would help the country become a leader in green car manufacturing.

“The automotive sector is of key importance to the UK. It supports research and development, technological innovation, skills and a supply chain that's a mainstay of the wider manufacturing sector,” he said.

"Today's news from Nissan, with support from Government, shows that by working together we can achieve our aim of making the UK a world-leader in ultra-low carbon vehicles."

Mandelson also welcomed Ford’s announcement that it will invest £1.5 billion in enhancing the efficiency of its petrol and diesel engines and improve the environmental performance of the company's commercial vehicles.

Government to back Ford investment with £360m loan guarantees
The Government is backing the Ford investment with £360 million in loan guarantees, while a proposed £450 million loan is being considered by the EIB.

Joe Greenwell, Ford chairman, said the money would be invested in “new, affordable, volume-produced low CO2 technologies."

The plans are expected to safeguard around 2,800 skilled jobs at Ford’s R&D centre at Dunton in Essex as well as at its manufacturing plants in Dagenham, Southampton and Bridgend in South Wales.

Nissan to start building battery plant next month
Nissan also confirmed today said that construction of its advanced lithium-ion battery plant would begin in April. The facility, which will be located at Sunderland, will have a production capacity of 60,000 units a year and will start manufacturing batteries in 2012 for both Nissan and its Alliance partner Renault.

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UK car manufacturing boosted by Nissan and Ford 'green' investments
Nissan is to build its electric car Leaf at its Sunderland plant in the North East
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