Selasa, 12 November 2013

Mould-Breaking New Nissans Enhance British Car Industry - Autos - Cars

<p>This year has proved a stellar one for new car launches on the British car-making scene.</p>

<p>In previous articles we've looked at fresh models from iconic British brands like Rolls Royce, Bentley, Jaguar, MG and Mini. But leading Japanese marques with UK manufacturing plants have also been launching their own ground-breaking new models. </p>

<p>In this article we focus on Nissan, where big changes are underway at the firm's Sunderland base - Britain's biggest and Europe's most productive car plant.</p>

<p>The site currently turns out the Japanese firm's Micra, Note and Qashqai models, supplying about 50 countries and employing over 5,000 people.</p>

<p>While the next generation of the Nissan Micra due to go on sale in early 2011 is set to be assembled in India, the firm's brand new Juke model will be taking up the spare production capacity in Sunderland.</p>

<p>The quirkily-styled compact SUV is essentially a little brother to Nissan's popular Qashqai and a new entrant to a market sector that has burgeoned this year with fresh models like the Range Rover Evoque and Mini Countryman.</p>

<p>The Juke is being offered with a trio of engines - a 1.6 petrol, 1.5 diesel and a range-topping 1.6 litre direct-injection turbo, which will be the only model offered with a four-wheel-drive option.</p>

<p>While the car has received favourable reviews chiefly for its stand-out styling, criticisms have centred around poor driving dynamics, cheap feeling interior materials, together with cramped rear access and storage capacity. However, perhaps making up for these shortfalls, the car's price is expected to be competitive.</p>

<p>Order books at Nissan dealers opened last month and early reports suggest that the Juke's daring styling is proving a hit with the public and the company may have another sales success on its hands.</p>

<p>But the Juke isn't the only new car ace up Nissan's sleeve.</p>

<p>A brand new zero-emissions family hatchback called the Leaf is also in the pipeline and Nissan has announced that it will also be built at its Sunderland plant. The ground-breaking, all-electric Leaf will have a range of around 100 miles and be the most practical electric car yet launched, able to seat five adults.</p>

<p>First deliveries will take place in early 2011, with initial models being shipped from Japan and UK-built versions ready from 2013.</p>

<p>But customers ordering the Leaf now may face a longer than expected wait before receiving their car. Order books have already opened in the US and Japan and a recent announcement revealed that Nissan has taken 19,000 pre-orders for its plug-in hatchback, which is double the planned production for the first year.</p>

<p>While potential buyers will have been reassured by the government's commitment to maintaining the proposed grant towards the purchase cost of electric vehicles, together with the news from forecasters that resale values of electric cars will hold up well, doubts still remain about the longevity of expensive battery packs at the heart of such cars as well as the likely cost of their leasing or renewal.</p>

<p>Such teething troubles aside, Nissan's new car plans demonstrate the creativity at work in the British car industry and indicate that the company's UK operations can look forward to a prosperous 2011.</p>

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