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Japanese auto giant Nissan said on Tuesday that it will build a new hatchback compact car in Britain, in a £125-million investment that will create 2,000 jobs.

The new vehicle will be built at Nissan's Sunderland plant from mid-2013 in a project which will also be supported by a government grant of £9.3 million, the automaker said in a statement.

"As well as playing a key role in Nissan's market expansion within Europe, the new model will also have a significant benefit in terms of jobs with around 2,000 new posts created at Nissan and amongst its UK supplier base," it said.

The hatchback car, which will compete models like the Ford Fiesta and the VW Polo, was unveiled on Tuesday at the Geneva Motor Show by Nissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer.

Business Secretary Vince Cable welcomed the news as a "clear vote of confidence" in Britain's manufacturing industry.

"It is fantastic news that Nissan will be building the new model in Sunderland," Cable said.

"The investment is a boost for jobs at Nissan's plant as well as the wider supply chain."


Tuesday's announcement will cement Sunderland's place as the largest car factory in Britain -- a position it has held for the last 14 years.

"I'm delighted that Sunderland has secured what will be another very important model for Nissan in Europe," said Trevor Mann, Nissan Senior Vice President for Manufacturing in Europe.

"It is a testament to the workforce, the ongoing support from the UK government and all of our regional partners and suppliers.

"The additional volume will maintain Sunderland as the country's largest car plant and we expect and look forward to a very busy future."

The Sunderland plant produced more than 480,000 cars last year, a record high for a British plant, as the group was boosted by strong demand for its Qashqai, Juke and Note car models, many of which are sold outside of Britain.

AFP, photo by robertknight16