Infiniti will exit western Europe to focus on US, China

Infiniti will exit western Europe to focus on US, China

Nissan's premium brand suffered a 78.7% volume decline in 2018, from 3,515 to just 750 units, despite building its Q30 and QX30 models in Sunderland, and has just six United Kingdom dealerships, following the closure of the Glyn Hopkin-run site in St Albans.

Infiniti aims to withdraw from Western Europe by early 2020.

The Wearside workforce will no longer build the Q30 vehicle within months.

Nissan also recently scrapped plans to build its new X-Trail SUV in Britain amid the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, saying it had taken the decision to optimise its investments by building the next generation model in Japan. Past year the company delivered just 6,000 units in the region.

It will shift its focus to North America and China, and continue its smaller operations in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.


About 70,000 of Infinite cars have been made in Sunderland since production began in 2015.

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.

In a statement, Unite national officer Steve Bush said the decision, while driven by poor sales, was "obviously sad news". Like all other auto makers Infiniti will have to invest heavily in electrification in order to reduce its fleet emissions, which are mandated at an average of 95g/km of Carbon dioxide in Europe from next year.

Sunderland is now the only Nissan plant building Infiniti's Q3 and QX30 models. Unite is confident however that workers on the Infiniti Q30 production line who want to stay with Nissan can be redeployed within the Sunderland plant onto other models.

The Nissan-owned automaker said it's working to find other jobs for employees that might be affected, and once that's done, it'll focus on ending franchise agreements.

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