Infiniti is leaving western Europe

Kenny Grant
March 13, 2019

Infiniti will cease production at its Sunderland, UK plant - which builds the Q30 hatchback and QX30 crossover - by mid-2019.

The move is part of a wider global restructuring plan for Infiniti.

However, that stance has now changed and the end of Infiniti production in the United Kingdom comes just a matter of weeks after Nissan confirmed that it would not be building the forthcoming X-Trail SUV there, as previously planned. A year ago the company delivered just 6,000 units in the region. According to the plan, Infiniti will withdraw from western European markets in early 2020.

About 70,000 of Infinite cars have been made in Sunderland since production began in 2015. Infiniti says it's working to find "alternative opportunities for any employees who would be affected".

According to Car Sales Base, the brand sold just 6250 vehicles across Europe previous year, down from 12,571 in 2017.

"Plant management will discuss any impact on the plant with employees and their representatives", the statement said.

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Sky News reported last week that shifts at the Sunderland plant could be reduced from three to two a day and potential result in up to 400 job losses.

Unite's national officer Steve Bush said: "This decision, which is driven by poor sales, is obviously sad news".

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 wants to go fully electric by 2021, and thus won't sell any diesel-engined cars from that date.

Unite said it would be seeking assurances on future employment and was confident of securing redeployment opportunities for the 200 plus workers affected.

Sunderland is now the only Nissan plant building Infiniti's Q3 and QX30 models.

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