The Nissan factory in Sunderland in England has been ranked the most productive car plant in Europe for the seventh consecutive year in a study of over 40 passenger car plants.

The Nissan factory in Sunderland has been ranked the most productive car plant in Europe for the seventh consecutive year in a study of over 40 passenger car plants.

The World Markets Research Centre (WMRC) released its 2003 European Automotive Productivity Index last week. The survey showed the Sunderland plant produced 99 cars per employee in 2002. This represents a four per cent increase on 2001 when 95 cars per employee were produced.

The WMRC survey assesses the productivity of more than 40 passenger car plants, and Sunderland has remained top of its European league table since 1996 when it achieved a total of 73 car per employee.

"Last year was a challenging one for our plant with the launch of the new Micra and Primera as well as modifications to the Almera and the introduction of a whole new diesel range. The success of all these activities endorses the way Nissan builds cars not just in Sunderland, but world wide," said Colin Dodge, managing director of Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK).

"High productivity is the by-product of good manufacturing practice and how successfully you run the whole business, Nissan remains one of the best in the world at doing this. However, the skill and adaptability of our workforce remains the biggest factor in our success," said Dodge.

In the US, Nissan has topped the productivity table for the past eight years.