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Local heroes

11 months ago

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Writer:

Stephen Dobie | Journalist

Date:

5 April 2023

Until now, I’ve rarely struggled to find my car in a car park. But that’s a clear and present danger when driving a grey Qashqai to Nissan’s gargantuan UK factory. This was Britain’s best-selling car in 2022, the first built on home soil to top the charts in decades. It’s perhaps no surprise that so many of them inhabit the staff car park here.

Sunderland is a working-class city whose mood mirrors the ups and downs of its two most notable inhabitants: Sunderland Association Football Club and Nissan Motor Company, or more specifically its NMUK plant on the banks of the River Wear. The former hasn’t topped a league table for years, its golden era fast approaching a century old. Which is why good news stories from the latter are even more vital.

That’s exactly what the Qashqai’s success has provided. To folk like us it might be an easily ignored slice of mainstream motor car, one that family or friends buy to our polite shrugs and smiles as we wonder just what its £26,405 entry ticket might snare on the used market. A lightly used Megane RS would carry a similar amount of stuff with far greater vim, after all…

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