Infiniti Exits Europe, Focus Is on North America and China


Sunderland produced about 12,000 of the two diesel models a year ago, out of almost 450,000 cars.

Infiniti, the premium vehicle arm of Nissan Motor, will terminate its business in Europe in early 2020. Just 170 of the pair were sold in Australia a year ago, with the marque notching up just 649 sales in total.

Focus will now shift from the European market to North America and China, while smaller operations will continue in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, the company announced.

Around 250 employees at the Sunderland auto factory are dedicated to Infiniti production. Executives said that they were "working to find alternative opportunities" for all affected staff. Work is due to conclude in Sunderland "by mid-2019".

Just 750 Infiniti cars were bought by Britons previous year.

In line with the trends in the industry, all diesel engines will be phased out, and the entire range of cars is to be electrified from 2021.

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Infiniti Motor Co, the luxury division of Japanese automaker Nissan, says it's withdrawing from western Europe - offering another blow to carmakers in the United Kingdom bracing for Britain's departure from the European Union.

The restructuring plan "will focus the brand on its largest growth markets, specifically North America and China, while withdrawing from Western Europe", the statement said.

The compact made-in-UK Q30 model that was envisioned to capture more sales and increase brand presence in Europe will meet an even earlier demise, with Infiniti planning to cease production in a few months' time.

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

Responding to today's announcement, Unite said it would be seeking assurances on future employment and was confident of securing redeployment opportunities for the 200-plus workers affected.