Saturday, 17 August, 2019

Nissan to end Sunderland production of luxury Infiniti brand

Nissan QashqaiNISSAN Nissan QashqaiNISSAN
Russell Knight | 12 March, 2019, 22:55

Infiniti is pulling out of Western Europe after Nissan's premium arm was no longer considered a viable business here.

The move follow's Nissan's recent decision to build its new X-Trail model in Japan, instead of Sunderland.

"This restructuring plan will have no impact on Infiniti's ongoing operations in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia, which continue to grow", it added.

Infiniti showrooms will close within 12 months and production of the Q30 and QX30 at Nissan's Sunderland plant will cease in the summer.

"Western Europe remains the most challenging and competitive region for premium cars", Infiniti's chief spokesman, Trevor Hale, told Reuters.

The Infiniti brand has struggled to make a mark in Western Europe- previous year sales halved to 5,800.

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According to Autocar, Infiniti accumulated approximately 60,000 customers in Europe since it entered the market in 2008.

As for its retailers, the company says it will conclude end of franchise agreements while providing the support and services necessary to ensure a smooth transition.

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.

The brand plans to focus more on its SUV lineup in North America, bring five new or significantly-redesigned vehicles to China over the next five years, improve quality of sales and residual value and realise more synergies with Nissan. "This is all part of Infiniti's vision to become a top challenger in the premium segment", the company said.

The carmaker chose to shift production of its Q30 unit to Japan amid weak sales in western Europe, with work due to conclude in Sunderland "by mid-2019".

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