Japanese carmaker Nissan, which on September 3 had showcased its popular subcompact crossover Nissan Juke in an all-new avatar, has now begun production of the second-generation of the model which will only be sold in Europe.
The Juke has received a major update after nearly ten years of its original launch in 2010 and saw production for the subcompact crossover commencing at the company’s Sunderland plant in the UK on September 10.
With fresh investment of 100 million pounds (Rs 893.78 crore), the Sunderland factory is the only Nissan production plant in the world which will build the latest Juke for consumption in the EU markets.
For Europe only
While the Juke started off as being a global model garnering tremendous response in various markets, the crossover slowly started getting overshadowed by aggressive competition over the last few years, which made the carmaker pull the plug on the model from major markets, except for those in Europe. In fact, the Nissan Kicks crossover is understood to be the Juke replacement in these markets.
The Juke barely managed to clock 10,157 units in the US in 2017 (2016: 19,577 / -48.11%), when the facelifted first-generation model was still ambling along quite well in Europe with cumulative sales clocking over 95,000 units in 2018. This was a clear enough indication for the Japanese carmaker to reserve the second-generation model for the European market only and build it at the Sunderland facility. For this very reason, the car has seen its entire design and engineering work being carried out in the UK, with the Nissan’s European Design and R&D teams in Paddington, London and Cranfield, Bradfordshire taking on the project.
In its eightp-year run between 2010 and 2018, the Juke was sold in countries such as the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, Indonesia, Chile and Sri Lanka. The car was always built at two locations- Sunderland catering to Europe and Oppama (Japan) for the rest of the world – both producing AWD variants of the crossover.
Nissan says that the second-generation Nissan Juke has been developed specifically for the European markets and that 70 percent of the production from the plant will be for EU nations, with three two-thirds of the suppliers for the crossover also being based in the EU.
Tech-up for the new model
According to Nissan Europe Chairman, Gianluca de Ficchy, “The new Juke represents a further £100mn investment in our Sunderland plant and is designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK for European customers.”
The company had to also invest in over 5,000 hours of manpower training to upskill its highly skilled and experienced team to manufacture the car. The plant had to undergo necessary tooling upgrades to deliver the new Juke’s suite of advanced technology and high levels of interior and exterior personalisation.
This includes more than 27 new die sets, which cut and mould the car’s ultra-high-tensile steel, which have been installed in the Press Shop to form the Juke’s athletic new design. Four new spray booths have been built in the Paint Shop to accommodate the choice of 15 different two-tone body colour combinations that customers can now choose from.
According to Steve Marsh, Nissan Vice President for Manufacturing in the UK, “We are thrilled to see the Juke in production. Our million Juke fans across Europe will be able to see it on the roads very soon. Juke is a big part of our plant’s heritage, so it is a proud moment to see the new model rolling off the line.”
The new Nissan Juke comes powered by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder DIG-T turbocharged petrol engine which is manufactured in Sunderland. With 117hp of power, the company claims, it gives drivers improved performance, fuel economy and refinement. The car has received a thorough update with sharper lines and a masculine new grille, while retaining some of the defining design elements such as the round headlights underneath the slim LED DRLs. The car is based on the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi’s CMF-B platform and is 85mm longer and 170mm wider than the outgoing model.
With over 35,000 employees, Nissan’s Sunderland plant is the biggest car factory in the United Kingdom. To support the production of new Juke, extra manufacturing staff will be needed on the plant’s production Line Two. In a restructuring of the production schedule, these staff will transfer from production Line One, with both lines operating on a two shift pattern. Overall headcount at the plant will remain the same.