Published: Tue, March 12, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Infiniti Exits Europe, Focus Is on North America and China

Infiniti Exits Europe, Focus Is on North America and China

Workers at Britain's biggest vehicle plant received more bad news today when Nissan's luxury Infiniti division announced that it will halt production in Sunderland within months.

Infiniti announced on Tuesday that it intends to withdraw from Western Europe in 2020. Both vehicles are sold globally but produced only in Sunderland.

It's part of a bigger plan that involves pulling the Infiniti brand out of Western Europe.

The move follow's Nissan's recent decision to build its new X-Trail model in Japan, instead of Sunderland.

The company said it was "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".

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Instead, Nissan plans to promote the Infiniti brand in the USA and Chinese markets. Infiniti's best-ever year in Europe was in 2015 when it sold almost 14,000 vehicles.

"The commercial reality for Infiniti in western Europe is that there is simply no visibility of a viable and sustainable business, especially given the regulatory challenges", he said. The brand has said new vehicles introduced after 2021 will be electrified, meaning they will be offered as a hybrid or pure battery electric vehicle-that has not changed.

The company says it will "focus the brand on its largest growth markets, specifically North America and China", but today's announcement is claimed to have "no impact" on the brand's presence in eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia. "This is all part of Infiniti's vision to become a top challenger in the premium segment", the company said.

Infiniti launched in Europe and the United Kingdom in 2008, but it has never taken off here. There are 55 Infiniti retail stores in western Europe.

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