400 new UK jobs at Nissan
Demand for the Qashqai crossover model, which is due to be updated in March, prompted the new night shift which will start in May.
As well as the 400 new jobs, 160 existing temporary staff will be retained, and new jobs are also expected across Nissan's supply chain.
A temporary nightshift was first introduced in June 2008, but it was withdrawn in January 2009 following the economic downturn.
Nissan expects to keep the new shift running for around six months, but will constantly assess market demand to see if it needs to be shortened or extended.
Trevor Mann, senior vice president for manufacturing in Europe, said: 'As in 2008 the third shift will be temporary, but it will provide a boost to the factory, suppliers and manufacturing in the North East during what is forecast to be another tough year for the car industry.'
New models at Sunderland
The updated Qashqai will have a newly designed front, LED rear lights and be available with a more efficient diesel engine that emits just 129g/km of carbon dioxide.
In the autumn, Nissan launches the new Juke mini-crossover, which will also be produced in Sunderland.