Nissan's luxury brand Infiniti leaves Britain

Roman Schwartz
March 13, 2019

Production of the Q30 sedan and QX30 crossover models will cease by July at Nissan's Sunderland plant in northeast England, the Japanese carmaker said Tuesday.

However, the plan is the latest blow to the workers at the Sunderland plant, the UK's largest vehicle factory, after Nissan previously announced plans to build its new X-Trail in Japan. That reversed a decision announced two years ago after Prime Minister Theresa May's government offered some 60 million pounds in incentives.

Infiniti plans to divert its resources to markets with bigger opportunities from a region where non-European premium brands are struggling to compete against local players such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Infiniti will continue with plans to electrify its lineup.

Instead, Nissan plans to promote the Infiniti brand in the USA and Chinese markets.

A statement released on Tuesday confirmed the luxury auto maker will terminate United Kingdom production of vehicles at the Sunderland plant, putting around 250 jobs at risk.

Nissan to end Sunderland production of luxury Infiniti brand
Nissan to end luxury Infiniti car production in Sunderland

The company says it will "focus the brand on its largest growth markets, specifically North America and China", but today's announcement is claimed to have "no impact" on the brand's presence in eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Of a total of 442,000 cars rolling off the production lines at Sunderland last year, just 12,400 were Infinitis, down from 27,000 the year before.

A spokesman said that the targets could be met by Infiniti, like any other auto maker, with investment in electrified technology, but there was no viable way of the company to do so.

Infiniti is the latest automotive brand to decide to pull out of Western Europe.

"Infiniti markets and sells independently as a premium brand", a company representative explained to The Drive.

Infiniti aims to withdraw from Western Europe by early 2020.

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