The Nissan Qashqai (nee Dualis in Australia) has just broken a longstanding UK production record, clocking up two million deliveries inside eight years, a timeframe faster than any other British-made car.
A mega-hit across Europe and many other markets including Australia, the Qashqai is made predominately at Nissan’s Sunderland plant — a market where it is consistently one of the biggest-selling cars and an absolute staple for the Japanese brand.
It has reached the two million mark faster than either the original or ‘new’ Mini (it took the latter 10 years), the Ford Cortina and Fiesta, and the Austin 1100. Of the two million Qashqais made in Sunderland since December 2006, 85 per cent have been exported to 132 international markets, “from the Congo to Qatar”.
Production in the UK has been on round-the-clock, three-shift production since 2010 in order to meet customer demand, with a car currently rolling off the production line every 62 seconds, or 58 per hour.
Total global production of the Qashqai now tops 2.5 million, with the first-generation Qashqai also made by Nissan in China and Japan. From 2015 the new Qashqai will also be manufactured in Nissan’s plant in St Petersburg for domestic sales in Russia.
The Qashqai is now closing in on the Micra as the highest volume car in the history of Nissan’s Sunderland Plant, with 2,368,704 Micras made there over an 18-year period from 1992 to 2010. It’s just a matter of time.
The Qashqai is now in its second-generation. After a slow start in Australia (where it wore Dualis badges) in 2008, the car eventually struck a chord with local buyers, helping Nissan paper over its sluggish Tiida sales. Nissan has sold 54,871 units so far.
For years now it has sat alongside the Hyundai ix35, Mitsubishi ASX and Subaru XV as a leader in the small SUV market, which has gone from strength to strength and is now a priority market for brands from Peugeot to Holden to Honda.
“The Qashqai is helping Nissan to go from strength to strength in Europe. Two million customers can’t be wrong. This is further evidence of their trust in our brand. Thank you to all of our loyal customers and I congratulate all my colleagues in Sunderland for reaching this latest milestone,” said Nissan Europe chairman Paul Willcox.