Infiniti Etherias concept on display at the 2011 Geneva auto show.

Rather like Buzz Lightyear, it’s a case of ‘to Infiniti and beyond’ for the Nissan plant in Sunderland, northeast England.

A £250 million (R3.45 billion) investment in the plant promises a jobs bonanza thanks to the news that a new upmarket hatchback - the Infiniti Etherias - will be built there.

The project will mean 1000 jobs as Nissan aims to take on Audi’s A3 from 2015. About 60 000 Etherias will be built at Sunderland each year and will cost from about £20 000 (R275 000).

The factory, which employs more than 6000 people, currently builds the Qashqai, Note and Juke, and in 2013 will add production of the battery-powered Leaf. So far in 2012 it has produced more than half a million cars, which Nissan claims is a UK record.

The new global model will be made only at Sunderland and is being developed with help from Nissan’s design centre in London and technical centre in Cranfield. The Sunderland plant began producing cars in September 1986, since when investment has totaled more than £3.5 billion (R48 billion). - Daily Mail