SUNDERLAND, UK—Nissan Motor Co. has installed a new, extra-large press line at its assembly plant here.

Weighing more than 2,000 ton, the new press took some 18 months to install and is part of a $514 million investment to prepare the plant to make Nissan’s new Qashqai crossover SUV. The first panels on the press were produced March 6 at a ceremony led by Ashwani Gupta, Nissan’s COO.

“When the first Nissan Qashqai rolled off the line in Sunderland in 2006, it created the crossover segment,” says Gupta. “Designed, engineered and made in the UK, and more than 3 million vehicles later, it remains the benchmark, just as our team in the UK continues to set the standard for productivity and quality.”

The investment includes a recycling system to segregate and process scrap, and upgrades to the existing blanking line, which will supply flat blanks to the press, which will stamp more than 6 million vehicle panels a year.

“Watching the first perfect panels coming off the press was a proud moment, and is a reflection of the tremendous skills we have here,” says Steve Marsh, vice president of manufacturing at the plant.

According to Nissan, the investment to make the Qashqai comes on top of $128 million invested to launch a new version of the Juke and is part of an overall plan to invest $1.3 billion in the plant over five years.