Nissan's latest announcements will rev growth right along the supply chain. Kelley Price talks to the Teesside suppliers behind the Japanese global powerhouse.
NISSAN’S unstoppable Sunderland plant will soon be producing as many cars as Italy.
That’s right, the country.
The plant is one of the biggest in the world – now it will be taking on 625 more workers and moving to round-the-clock production to build its new hatchback and compact models.
Supply chain companies are celebrating the latest announcements, which will bring with them thousands more supporting jobs.
But they warn of a looming gap in skills for the expanding industry if companies can’t keep pace.
“This is a massive opportunity, particularly for our existing supply base,” claims Mike Matthews, managing director of Nifco UK, which supplies plastic car parts to Nissan and other leading car-makers.
“It’s too early to say if we’ll get any direct work from the Nissan announcements but it’s absolutely fantastic, it will offer a lot of opportunities for manufacturing companies in the region.”
It shows how positive car manufacturing is at the moment, he added, taking into consideration the economic climate, rising fuel costs and rising labour costs in other regions.
“We’d like to think we can get some part of the pie,” says David Land, engineering and operations director at Tallent Automotives Ltd, in Aycliffe.
“We are quoting now, but anything to do with Nissan is great in terms of the region.
“The automotive sector is strong at the moment. If you look at the UK, Jaguar Land Rover has recovered quite considerably.
“That strength is helpful to us.
“Whether you’re supplying to Nissan direct or not, the stronger the sector becomes the more it strengthens you.”
The Tallent Automotive plant was forced to shed staff in 2009, has seen a steady return to pre-2008 downturn levels.
“We’re at a level as good as we’ve been for a long time and long may it continue,” Mr Land added.