Japanese car maker Nissan has announced it will invest £100m in its UK plant to build the new Juke model.
The investment will secure thousands of jobs at the Sunderland factory, which produces the current Juke, Qashqai, Note and electric Leaf models.
The firm said the money gave “security to our Sunderland plant beyond 2020”.
Chancellor George Osborne welcomed the “fantastic news” that was “an important sign of Britain being chosen as a global leader in car production”.
The plant made 500,000 cars last year, making it the biggest car plant in the UK, according to Nissan.
According to Prof David Bailey from Aston Business School, Nissan’s Sunderland plant makes more cars than the whole of the Italian car industry.
The new investment will secure 6,700 jobs at the plant and more than 27,000 in the supply chain.
Unite union assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: “We warmly welcome the decision of Nissan to build the new Juke model in the UK, when it could have gone to one of Nissan’s plants abroad.
“The decision demonstrates the confidence the industry has in a highly skilled and dedicated workforce across the UK automotive industry.”
Global market ‘turbulent’
Nissan Europe chairman Paul Wilcox told the BBC the plant was “probably the most productive in Europe and, I’d argue, globally”.
He added that although demand in Russia and China was slowing, the car market in western Europe was “very good and improving, and the market in the UK is very, very good”.
“We are not getting carried away as the global market is turbulent, but we are seeing slight growth in demand.”
According to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, UK car production in the first half of the year hit a seven-year high of 793,642 cars – the equivalent of three cars every minute.
This was the highest production since 2008, the year of the financial crisis that sparked a deep recession in the UK.