Nissan to withdraw luxury Infiniti brand in Western Europe in 2020

Dwayne Harmon
March 15, 2019

"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.

Production of the Q30 sedan and QX30 crossover models will cease by July at Nissan's Sunderland plant in northeast England, the carmaker said Tuesday.

Nissan plans to cut jobs at the Sunderland factory. Nissan says it is working on reallocating the staff within the business.

Nissan's luxury arm Infiniti has confirmed it will stop producing cars in the United Kingdom in July, as part of its plan to withdraw from the European auto market by 2020. INFINITI expects its operations in Europe to be completely shuttered by early 2020. There are 55 Infiniti retail stores in western Europe.

A statement from Infiniti said: "Plant management will discuss any impact on the plant with employees and their representatives".

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Nissan launched its Infiniti line in 1989 looking to get a piece of luxury-car sales. Infiniti will continue its operations as usual in Eastern Europe.

Instead, the company will focus on producing more SUV models for China and North America. Like all other auto makers, Infiniti will have to invest heavily in electrification in order to reduce its fleet emissions, which are mandated at an average of 95g/km of Carbon dioxide in Europe from next year.

'Regardless, this is a disappointing decision for the up to 250 dedicated workers at Sunderland who could be affected - but the company's commitment to find alternative opportunities for those employees is welcome. Infiniti's sales in western Europe nearly halved a year ago to 5,800 vehicles.

The company said that their move to exit Western Europe will allow them to focus on their initiative to "electrify" its product portfolio from 2021and to discontinue diesel offerings.

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