NISSAN has recorded more than 4,000 UK sales of a groundbreaking North-East electric vehicle.

The company says more drivers are turning to its new Leaf hatchback.

Earlier this year, the Sunderland-based firm revealed 630 UK sales in March, which was nearly double the 332 models it sold in September last year, and 155 per cent higher than the 247 Leafs it sold in March last year.

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The car is also a major success in Norway, becoming the country's third-most sold passenger vehicle.

Nissan started production on the Leaf in Sunderland last April, after work previously took place in Japan.

It has invested £420m to make up to 50,000 Leafs a year in the region, creating 560 jobs and 1,500 supply chain posts.

Bosses say its success in the UK has also been helped by salesman Gareth Chandler.

The 34-year-old, who works at Benfield Nissan, in Gateshead, has become the first in the country to sell 200 Leafs.

He said: “A lot of customers have questions about moving away from a conventional car to an all-electric vehicle, but it is perfect for many people.”

Prime Minister David Cameron previously hailed the move in a factory visit, saying Nissan’s plant and workers were delivering “the best possible rebuke” to doubters saying UK manufacturing is in decline.