Infiniti Will Cease European Presence In Early 2020 - Auto News

Gladys Abbott
March 13, 2019

The restructuring plan will end all Infiniti auto sales in western Europe, although Nissan's premium brand will continue in some eastern European countries, along with China and the USA.

Workers at Britain's biggest auto plant received more bad news yesterday when Nissan's luxury Infiniti division said that it would halt production in Sunderland within months.

The manufacturer said the move was part of its plans to withdraw from the premium auto market in western Europe, where competition from Jaguar Land Rover, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz was too complicated to keep up with.

Nissan has also earlier announced the cancellation of plans to build the next-generation Nissan X-Trail at the British facility. Both vehicles are sold globally but produced only in Sunderland.

Britain and Ireland's largest union, Unite said it would be working closely with Nissan to protect the jobs of workers affected by the carmaker's decision. Infiniti's sales in western Europe nearly halved past year to 5,800 vehicles.

Infiniti Q30

"Western Europe remains the most challenging and competitive region for premium cars", Infiniti's chief spokesman, Trevor Hale, told Reuters. Infiniti intends on electrifying its portfolio by 2021, which might not be fast enough for Europe's liking.

Diesels are being discontinued, but gasoline engines are still very much a part of powertrain plans for the future, including Nissan's innovative VC-Turbo variable compression ratio engine that gives the gas engine the torque and efficiency of a hybrid or diesel.

"Working to find alternative opportunities for any employees who would be affected, consulting with employee representatives where necessary and identifying opportunities for transition and training support where appropriate", the company said in a statement.

Infiniti, the premium vehicle arm of Nissan Motor, will terminate its business in Europe in early 2020.

All but Belfast's Mervyn Stewart Infiniti site are now operated by the Infiniti Retail Group.

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