By Daniel Hunter

The Business Secretary welcomed Nissan’s new investment in the UK and announced that their latest project would be supported by Government funding.

Vince Cable visited the Geneva Motor Show where he saw Nissan unveil the Invitation concept car. A production version will be built in Sunderland next year.

Nissan expects manufacture of the new model to create around 2,000 new jobs at the plant and wider supply chain.

Nissan received a conditional offer of funding in the first round of the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) last year. The car firm’s bid is currently going through due diligence, but the offer of funding has enabled Nissan to progress the development of their new vehicle.

“It is fantastic news that Nissan will be building the new model in Sunderland. The investment is a boost for jobs at Nissan’s plant as well as the wider supply chain," Business Secretary Vince Cable said.

“This latest announcement highlights the UK’s track record of attracting inward investment. Global vehicle manufacturers are beating a path to the UK’s door. They recognise that the Government values the automotive sector.

“Nissan was able to push on with developing this latest project thanks to the Regional Growth Fund offer.”

Nissan is one of several businesses in the automotive sector to receive conditional offers from the £2.4 billion Regional Growth Fund. The fund’s objectives are to support projects that will create jobs in areas of England dependent on the public sector and are supported by private investment.

Unipres UK, a Sunderland based business, supplies parts to Nissan, and recently had confirmation they would receive £5 million from the RGF towards a £36 million project. This will create and protect 236 jobs as they extend their current facility.

Vantec Europe Limited also works with Nissan, and their bid to the RGF is currently going through due diligence. Vantec currently manages nearly 100 per cent of Nissan’s warehousing requirements, and have asked for support through the fund to allow them to expand capacity to accommodate Nissan’s new model.

Several other firms from the automotive sector were also successful in securing offers of funding for their projects. These include:

- General Motors
- Lotus
- Jaguar Land Rover
- Pirelli Tyres
- Getrag Ford
- Aston Martin

Bentley has also submitted two bids to the fund and in January the first of these received £1.69 million for a £4.5 million project to upskill existing employees and take on new staff to support increased production.

The third round of the RGF is now open to bids, and will aim to allocate a further £1 billion to projects from across England that will create new jobs, are based in areas dependent on the public sector and are supported by private investment. The deadline for bids is 13 June 2012, and anyone interested in submitting one is invited to attend a road show for more information and advice.

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