LEAF Blows Away Bluebird

Tue 23rd Mar 2021

An iconic British classic from the 1980s has been overtaken by a future icon as Nissan announced a landmark moment at their Sunderland factory.

Production of the Japanese company’s groundbreaking 100 per cent electric LEAF has now reached an impressive total of 195,380 units, a total significant as it means that the north east plant has now built more LEAFs than the classic Bluebird.

Nissan produced 187,178 Bluebirds from 1986 to 1990, with each car taking a total of 22 hours to build, more than twice the man hours it takes to put together the LEAF which can be built in 10 hours.

"Bluebird was an iconic model for the plant and evokes fond memories among all Nissan enthusiasts,” said Nissan’s Vice President of Manufacturing, Alan Johnson.

"LEAF volumes overtaking Bluebird shows how dramatically our manufacturing innovation, skills and processes have evolved as we drive towards electrification.

"LEAF overtaking Bluebird is a landmark – but there are many more to come for our team at the plant as our electrified line up grows."

Around the world there have been 500,000 LEAFs produced, with the Sunderland plant having the honour of actually producing the vehicle which reached the half a million mark. Since being launched in 2011, the car has won a host of accolades including World Car of the Year, European Car of the Year and Car of the Year in Japan.

Development of the Sunderland site for Nissan is also underlined by the contrast between the LEAF and the Bluebird. The first ever Bluebird Job 1 is commemorated in a local museum and was built at a time when the plant had just 430 employees, compared to the 6,000 who work there today.