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New Nissan Qashqai to be made from aluminium

The new Nissan Qashqai being built at the company’s Sunderland plant will be the first to be assembled from aluminium.

A £52m investment from the Japanese automotive giant has ensured the hood, doors and front fenders of the new models are made from aluminium alloy, making the Qashqai body 60kg lighter than the previous version.

The switch in production improves efficiency on the vehicles and allows Nissan to accommodate more technology in the Qashqai, including an electrified powertrain.

Nissan has also introduced a new recycling facility on its production that can handles more than seven tons of metal an hour, ensuring less waste and a greener production process.

As hoods and doors are stamped into shape, scrap material is extracted. The scrap is then sent to suppliers to be turned into aluminium alloy sheets and returned to Nissan for use in production.

Nissan said its “closed-loop” recycling system reduces waste and CO2 emissions, contributing to the company’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality across its operations and the life cycle of its products by 2050.

Alan Johnson, vice president of manufacturing at Nissan Sunderland, said: “We continue to look for ways to make both our vehicles and our manufacturing process more sustainable and the use of lightweight aluminium in the new Qashqai is a great example.

“We continue to improve the efficiency and sustainability of our manufacturing operations and Sunderland will play a key role in meeting the company’s commitment to carbon neutrality.”

Recycling scrap aluminium saves more than 90% of the energy needed to create a comparable amount from raw materials. The recycling plan follows Nissan’s pledge to make all of its vehicles in key markets electrified by the early 2030s.

Nissan recently announced plans for an expansion to its renewable energy generation at Sunderland with a proposed extension to its solar farm. If approved, the 37,000-panel extension would result in 20% of the plant’s energy coming from all onsite renewables.

Reports this week suggested that Nissan is also looking to bolster electronic vehicle production with an expanded ‘gigafactory’ to produce batteries for its cars.

The company did not comment directly on the reports.

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