Nissan to end luxury Infiniti auto production in Sunderland

13 March, 2019, 15:49 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • Infiniti withdrawal will see UK production end and dealerships close

It was rumored for quite a while but now it's official: Nissan will pull the Infiniti luxury brand from western Europe in early 2020.

Nissan's announcement to stop production of the Infiniti model at Sunderland follows a decision to stop selling the model in Western Europe amid poor sales.

The models' shuttering will be the second blow within weeks for the U.K.'s biggest auto plant after Nissan abandoned a plan to make the X-Trail sport utility vehicle there, citing uncertainty over Brexit as a factor. Both models are sold globally but produced only in Britain.

The Nissan division added that it aimed to transform Infiniti into a "top challenger brand" in the premium sector of the world vehicle marketplace.

As part of the plan, Infiniti will electrify its product line-up from 2021 onward, discontinue diesel offerings, and focus its resources on its biggest opportunities. Infiniti's sales in western Europe nearly halved past year to 5,800 vehicles.

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In addition to the tough competition, the Japanese premium brand, headquartered in Hong Kong since 2012, has struggled to effectively meet emissions and other regulatory requirements in the region, Hale said, referring to stringent Euro 6 emissions requirements and other regulatory challenges.

The decision announced today by the carmaker is part of a larger set of measures meant to make the Nissan-spinoff a more appealing brand.

Although it admittedly sells cars for a niche segment, Infiniti's sales in Europe are disastrous, and have been so ever since 2003.

Infiniti will withdraw its manufacturing and sales operations from the United Kingdom in 2020 as it targets electrification and growth in Western Europe, China and the US. Infiniti says it's working to find "alternative opportunities for any employees who would be affected".

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