British-built Nissan Qashqai is an official best-seller – we speak to five people who know it inside out | The Sun

THE do-it-all Nissan Qashqai is Britain’s top seller – the first British-built car to take the crown for 24 years.

It sold 42,000 in 2022, overtaking the Vauxhall Corsa and Ford’s mid-size Transit Custom van.

We speak to five people who know and love Qashqai for different reasons.


Matt Weaver

NISSAN designer Matt Weaver told me: “I’ve known Qashqai longer than my kids.”

Which is quite an admission when you think about it.


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He said: “We started working on the first concept back in 2003, almost 20 years ago. My kids are 14 and 12.

“We had to invent that segment. We had to reinvent ourselves. We had to dig deep.

“We couldn’t come with another C-segment hatchback.

Engineering, product planning, all of us together came up with the concept of crossover and it has been a great success all the way along.

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“We have 20-plus competitors today and to know Qashqai is still the benchmark, is still the go-to product, is fantastic.”

Matt admitted he still gets a buzz from spotting Qashqai wherever he goes.

He said: “I love seeing it in car parks and on the highway, seeing who’s using it and how it’s ageing.

“I think as a designer that’s the best thing. We make something as a team and then you see it being used, really used, and relied on by families everywhere, that’s really very satisfying.

“Right at the beginning of our processes we always talk about the customer: Who are they? What would they want?

“So to go full circle with the customer putting Qashqai at the top of the tree in 2022 is a proud moment for us all. The ultimate pat on the back.

“With each iteration we have tried to pack it with the best we could give at the time and the current car is doing it again now.

“We’re super happy. We know it’s a great car and there’s more to come.”


Peter and Joe

FATHER and son Peter and Joe Dobinson work on the lines putting Qashqai together.

Peter, 55, has clocked up 35 years at Nissan’s Sunderland factory, while Joe, 21, started in 2018.

Senior supervisor Peter said: “Looking back, Qashqai was a real game-changer for the company.

“We used to make Bluebird, Primera, Almera, Micra, but Qashqai is the one that really put the volume up.

“I think it changed the brand image as well. It invented the segment. Everybody looked at Qashqai as the one to beat.”

Nissan employs 6,000 staff at Sunderland and supports 30,000 jobs in the supply chain. In other words, it puts food on the table for a lot of families.

Joe, an engineering degree apprentice, said: “Nissan is a massive part of the North East in terms of employment and you see a lot of Qashqais on the road around here. We’re all very proud of it.

“It’s a very clean-looking car, modern, but it’s also practical as well.”

Nissan builds a car every minute at Sunderland — and every month there’s a £1 raffle for staff to win a Qashqai or Juke.


Graham, 80

LOYAL Graham Bracegirdle has had eight Qashqais over the years — and his NINTH one is on order.

The retired Royal Mail manager said: “I just think they’re a marvellous car.

“They’re economical, they’re practical, they’re reliable, they’re dependable. Getting in and out is easy. Everything about them is right.

“Friends say to me, ‘Why do you keep going for a Nissan?’ And my answer is always the same. Because I can’t fault them in any way.

“When I found out Qashqai was made in Sunderland, even better.”

Graham, 80, from Garstang, Lancs, is due to collect Qashqai No9 later this month.

He said: “I’ve gone for the e-Power, where the petrol engine generates the power to charge the batteries. It’s got heated seats, heated steering wheel, everything. You get value for money with Nissan.

“It all started for me in 2008. As I was driving along in my Rover 45, a car went past and I thought, ‘Ooh, I like the shape of that’.

“My wife asked what it was — and I said I can’t even pronounce it. We finished up going to Nissan and the rest is history.

“We go down to Cornwall on holiday, up to Scotland, and hopefully we’ll drive to Austria this year.”


Adam Turner

WIGAN loves a Qashqai too.

That’s where most were sold last year, with local dealer Chorley Group Nissan handing over near as damn it one a day. Every day.

Boss Adam Turner said: “We are seeing a lot of conquests — people coming from more traditional premium Germanic brands.

“The technology in the new Qashqai is incredible but it still represents exceptional value with the quality of the product now.

“Particularly groundbreaking technologies like e-Power. That’s revolutionary in the crossover market.

“It is giving customers a good alternative to going fully electric but obviously you don’t need to charge it anywhere.

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“The cabin feels premium, at the top end of crossover quality.”

Chorley Group has five Nissan dealerships across the North West, and Qashqai outsells the rest of the range added together.

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