THE Prime Minister said it was a great day for the whole country as he attended the production launch of car manufacturer Nissan's electric LEAF car today.

David Cameron was speaking at the Japanese company's factory in Sunderland, where he was given a tour of the plant and met members of staff.

He was also shown a LEAF that was cut in half, to see how it works inside, and got the chance to stick a Nissan badge onto the front of one of the cars fresh off the production line.

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"It is a huge privilege as Prime Minister to be here at this incredible plant today and to see this incredible new car," he said.

"This plant, all of the people who work here, the cars being produced behind me, are the best possible rebuke to those who say in Britain we don't design things anymore, we don't make things anymore.

"You have shown here at Nissan in Sunderland that we can and we can do it brilliantly."

Mr Cameron also got the chance to take part in a traditional Japanese ceremony, when he coloured in the eye of a Daruma doll, which former prime minister Margaret Thatcher had done when the plant first opened.

The LEAF car, which is 100% electric, is now rolling off the production line in the record breaking Sunderland plant.

"It's a great day for Nissan in Sunderland," said Mr Cameron.

"You are the most efficient car plant in Europe and you are one of the most efficient car plants in the world.

"It's also a great day for our country. You have produced over seven million cars in this plant, it's an incredible record here in Sunderland which you can be very proud of."

The dozens of journalists and employees present were shown a video that explained the history of Nissan's electric vehicles.

The Prime Minister, who had already been given a tour of the plant, then arrived in the passenger seat of the new LEAF as he was driven into the press conference.

After speaking at the launch he was then taken to the factory canteen where he ate lunch with some of the employees.

Nissan's executive vice president Andy Palmer said: "The Nissan LEAF is our most technically advanced car yet and the launch of this new model, built along with its batteries in Sunderland, is a huge boost not only for the plant but for British manufacturing.

"We could not have reached this point without the support and commitment we have enjoyed from governments across Europe, especially the British Government."