NISSAN has started making the new version of its Juke model and launched a recruitment drive for 50 new maintenance staff at its record-breaking North-East factory.

The Japanese car maker has invested £20m in its Sunderland plant for production of new version of the Juke which boasts a host of new features.

The start of Juke production completes the total refresh of the plant’s product line-up in just over a year, following the start of production of the Leaf electric hatchback, new Note and new Qashqai in Sunderland, representing more than £800m investment and supporting more than 38,000 UK jobs.

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It also coincides with a new recruitment drive for maintenance workers to support a third year of 500,000 vehicles produced at the plant, with 50 new posts available for experienced technicians to support high volumes across vehicle, powertrain and battery facilities. It will take the total number of people employed at the factory to about 6,900.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan’s vice president for manufacturing in the UK, said: “The launch of the new Juke further strengthens Nissan’s command of the crossover market. With a new Qashqai and now a new Juke in production at Sunderland, the crossover has become part of this plant’s DNA.

“This significantly revised new Juke is another example of how we never stand still at Nissan, so we are looking for experienced maintenance professionals who can help us build on our recent achievements and support the efficient running of the plant.”

Positions currently being advertised within the maintenance department include electrical and mechanical maintenance technician and supervisor positions.

The changes on the new Juke include; a new design at the front and rear, a new turbocharged engine offering greater performance, economy and lower emissions, advanced equipment including a new audio system, plus a new open-air panoramic glass roof.

Space in the luggage area has increased by 40 per cent in two-wheel drive versions, and the new personalisation programme called ‘Nissan Design Studio', offers a range of new colours, interior and exterior themes.

The new Juke goes on sale in the coming weeks.