Nissan begins U.K. production of its new B-segment Note, with dealers across Europe receiving more than 14,000 pre-orders since July.

The U.S. version of the hatchback, called the Versa Note, launched sales last month.

Sunderland production follows a £125 million ($199 million) investment by Nissan and a £9.3 million ($14.8 million) grant from the U.K. government's Regional Growth Fund.

John Martin, Nissan senior vice president-manufacturing, purchasing and supply-chain management in Europe, says the Note is giving mainstream B-segment customers a combination of design, technology and safety features that up to now have been available only in premium brands.

In addition to vehicle assembly, the new Note is bringing additional work to Nissan’s Sunderland plant and its supply chain in axle production, cylinder-head casting, camshaft machining and engine assembly.

In total, the upgraded model is responsible for 2,000 new jobs in the U.K. industry, including 400 staff at Sunderland, taking the number of British jobs supported by Nissan to more than 35,000.

The Note benefits from extensive European development, tailored for domestic buyers, with engineering and development work completed at the Nissan Technical Center Europe in both the U.K. and Spain.

Nissan says the new Note heralds the beginning of the busiest European launch period in its history, supporting the auto maker’s goal of becoming the No.1 Asian brand in the region. With design, engineering and manufacturing operations all based in Europe, more than 80% of the Nissan cars sold in Europe are made there.

The Sunderland plant opened in 1986 and is the U.K.’s largest manufacturing operation. Nissan built 510,572 vehicles last year, including the previous-generation Note. The factory also produces the Juke small car, Qashqai compact utility vehicle and Leaf electric car.

The next Qashqai and a premium compact car from Infiniti are scheduled to be built at Sunderland as well.

Nissan says it exports 80% of its U.K.-built vehicles to 97 markets.