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So many machines per worker per year are made at the Nissan plant in England - the most efficient in Europe.

Vladimir ARKUSHA

Globalization, which was particularly buzzing about last year, did not begin yesterday. Large firms spent tens of years and billions of dollars to bring production, and then the development of new models, to local markets, closer to the sales markets. In its own way, the Nissan company reminded about this, inviting journalists to the plant in Sunderland, in the northeast of Great Britain. They found a convincing reason: the launch of a new generation in the Almeria series. The previous one, produced since 1995, turned out, by the way, to be among the best-selling foreign cars in Russia. Almera II is the third Nissan model specifically for the European market; it was preceded by "Primera" in 1990 and "Micra" in 1992; both are produced at the same factory.

The creators of "Almeria II" clearly tried to find additional arguments for the buyer - in addition to the well-known quality and practicality, to give the car fashionable, energetic, catchy features. Indeed, in the European class C, aka “golf class”, the novelty should not be lost on the bright background of “Golf IV”, “Astra”, “Focus”. Rates are not limited to Europe: Almera is the first model on the new “mid-small” Nissan platform. It will serve as the basis for various machines, whose total output in different countries will reach, according to plans, 700 thousand units. in year.

The Almere, made in the United Kingdom, has a critical role to play. By the way, only three- and five-door hatchbacks are produced here, following the preferences of Europeans in this class; sedans are so popular among Russians (regardless of class!) in Japan and Mexico, and in Spain, the Almera Tino minivan, the “cousin” of the popular Renault Megan Scenic, will go off the assembly line.

Introducing Almeria to reporters, the project manager, Englishman John Barrow, only casually mentioned a new range of engines (gasoline 1.5; 1.8 l - the same as for the 2000 Examples; 2.2-liter diesel with direct injection) . Of course, they comply with the Euro IV 2005 standards - what, in fact, to brag about? Better look, gentlemen, how the everyday life is thought out, how many sorts of drawers, pockets, nets and flashlights are in the cabin and trunk … Here is for sunglasses, here is for CDs, here is a hook for your companion's handbag; a bottle of "Coke" - come, in your pocket on the door. The camera is in a special “invisible” hiding place.

Are you grinning? In vain. People who spend a lot of time on the road (which is facilitated by excellent roads and a mild climate) have the right to feel at home on wheels. In addition, a strict order in the cabin saves time, eliminates unpleasant surprises (something fell during a sharp maneuver, hit the floor, or even hit the passenger).

Do not think, however, that the Nissanovites are fixated only on shoving luggage into secluded places. A three-year guarantee for 100 thousand kilometers was not taken from the ceiling - everyday work on improving the reliability of the nodes is behind it, no matter how official it may sound. The factory will certainly tell you how the branded "hot" test is carried out: the engine, having worked for four days at maximum power speed under a load corresponding to four passengers with luggage plus a trailer, should give the same parameters as at the beginning of the test. They will not forget to mention that the abrasion resistance of the new model is tripled (!) Against previous ones.

Here they follow the principle of “quality - from the first hour”, that is, from the very beginning of mass production, without discounts on childhood diseases. Avoiding them, however, is damn difficult. Knowing this, Nissan distributed several dozens of cars from the pilot series to those where they are operated most intensively, and sometimes ineptly and even barbarously - in driving schools, taxi fleets. There, dozens of people of different sizes and complexities become drivers and passengers every day - they adjust mirrors, adjust seats … According to their comments, you can still remake uncomfortable handles, unreliable fasteners, etc.

Another way to achieve high quality is through technology. The new “Almera” had to be “taken root” into the existing production, where “Primer” (larger) and “Mikru” (smaller) were already made on two technological lines. They decided: “Almera” and “Primera” will each go their own way, “Mikra” - in parallel along both. Thus, they seem to concentrate on newer models, with a higher class (and complexity); from a well-mastered "Micra" surprises are not expected. Progress in design and technology has reduced the clock cycle (time a machine was at one “station”) from 60 to 43 seconds: today it is claimed to be the world's fastest pace.

Another indicator of the high level, thoroughness of production preparation: it takes only six weeks to shift it from launching a new model to the target pace of 233 cars.

Nissan in Sunderland is a full-cycle plant: here they make motors, stamp, weld and paint the body, assemble cars. The largest products obtained from Japan are cylinder blocks and transmissions. But besides this, components are supplied by 208 enterprises - is it conceivable to achieve that the quality of all products meets the most stringent requirements of Nissan? Remember: the suppliers of “rubber bands”, then shinniks, or glaziers are to blame for the defects in VAZ cars … It’s no wonder that the engineers and the PR specialists of Nissan repeatedly repeated in different ways to us: “In 2000, the share of defective products of subcontractors will not exceed the ratio is 50 parts per million delivered. ” Noting the confusion on the faces of Russian journalists, the hosts considered it necessary to clarify: we are talking about details that have some deviations - but not at all unsuitable in the everyday sense of the word. (And even if it’s about the worthless - fifty is easy to forgive, because we are used to choosing from the great heap at least a fraction of something suitable …).

Of course, this ratio was not suddenly reached - they went to him, as noted by production director Colin Dodge, for all fifteen years that the plant had been operating. We started from 10, 000 per million (this, however, is 1%). And, which is characteristic, a spectacular figure appears in speeches and press releases, but by no means in business contracts: it is implied, so to speak, by a gentleman's agreement.

Of course, we were interested in what contributed to the creation of a branch of a Japanese company in England. First of all, it is the liberal policy of the then government of the country and the authorities of the region, which was experiencing a deep economic recession, curtailing traditional industries. It is also curious that imported Nissan cars already sold well in Britain in the 80s, especially here in the northeast: therefore, not strangers came … The proximity to a potential market, the possibility of cheap delivery played a role components and removal of cars by sea. In turn, the company thoughtfully built the technical policy and development strategy of the plant, successively mastering the original models for the three most important sectors of the European market. Success was not long in coming: Mikru was recognized in Europe as a 1993 car, the first of Japanese cars; I venture to predict that Almera will have good chances in the 2000 contest.

European enterprises Nissan are designed to produce 400 thousand cars a year. Factories in England and Spain make 70% of the Nissan cars sold in Europe: Mikra, Primera, Serena, Terrano II, and Vanette Cargo. In 2000, locally produced cars will account for 90% of sales here.

The Nissan Motor United Kingdom factory began operating in 1986 with a screwdriver assembly for the Bluebird model. Total investments in the enterprise by the beginning of 1999 exceeded

1.5 billion pounds Art. ($ 2.4 billion). Preparation for Almeria production cost 215 million pounds. Art. (344 million dollars); created 800 new jobs.

In 1998, 537, 000 Nissan cars were sold in Europe - this is 33% of the total sales of the company. The largest markets are Great Britain (106.5 thousand units), Germany (95.5 thousand units), Spain (70.6 thousand units). In the operations of the trading company Nissan Europe, more than 15 thousand people are directly employed, not counting the employees of 4400 dealer firms.

In 1998, the Nissan plant in Sunderland manufactured 289 thousand cars and left