Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. says the success of its Qashqai small cross/utility vehicle in Europe will lead to the creation of a third shift at the plant where it is built.

Nissan’s Sunderland, U.K., facility will begin recruiting 800 additional workers to support the new shift, a process that should be completed by December, the auto maker says, noting 400 of the new workers will be permanent employees.

Temporary workers at Sunderland will be given the opportunity to become permanent full time on a rolling basis this year.

The plant currently employs 4,200 and also builds Nissan’s Note, Micra and Micra C+C models.

The Qashqai went on sale in Europe last March, and Nissan now has 60,000 orders to fill.

The auto maker has sold a total 130,000 units since the CUV went on sale, and last year Sunderland built 200,000 Qashqais, some of which were exported to other European countries, as well as Russia and Japan.

Nissan said last year it would begin producing the Qashqais in Japan, where it is known as the Dualis, in early 2008.