WHICHEVER side of the Brexit divide you stand, you have to agree that there is a real fear among UK carmakers over the future of Britain’s rich automobile building heritage.

Manufacturers who have invested heavily here over many decades, harnessing the skills of the British carmaker, started to make uncompromising sounds as to their future presence here if we were to leave the EU, with one of the most loyal of all brands to Britain, Honda, taking the devastating step of closing their Swindon, Wiltshire plant, though this they said was not purely down to Brexit itself.

But how reassuring it was then that last week Nissan marked the start of production of their new Juke model at its Sunderland plant, following a £100 million investment there.

Designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK, the new Juke has been developed specifically for European markets, with Sunderland the only production location for this second-generation compact crossover.

Its launch comes almost 10 years after the original Juke’s daring styling broke the mould in the B-segment, and Nissan has raised the bar again, bringing new levels of technology and connectivity to the compact crossover category.

Developed by Nissan’s European design and R&D teams in Paddington, London, and Cranfield, Bedfordshire, 70 per cent of Juke production will be for the EU markets, with two thirds of its suppliers based in the EU.

Visiting the Sunderland plant to oversee the final stages of preparation for the launch, Nissan Europe chairman Gianluca de Ficchy said: “The new Juke represents a further £100m investment in our Sunderland plant and is designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK for European customers.

“Thirty-five years ago Nissan decided to create a plant in the UK to serve our European markets. Ten million vehicles later, Sunderland is the biggest UK car plant in history and the all-new Juke is the most connected Nissan car. With more than 35,000 jobs supported by Nissan in the UK, I would like to thank our experienced and skilled teams in Paddington, Cranfield and Sunderland, and our wider supply base, for their efforts in bringing this all-new model to life.”

Juke is powered by an efficient 1.0-litre three-cylinder DIG-T turbocharged petrol engine which is manufactured in Sunderland and which develops 117 PS, giving drivers improved performance, fuel economy and refinement.

Sales in Europe start from the end of November.