Infiniti pulls out of Europe

Darnell Taylor
March 12, 2019

Infiniti is the latest automotive brand to decide to pull out of Western Europe. Both models are sold globally but produced only in Britain.

It's a second blow for the factory in as many months after the Japanese company confirmed in early February that it had cancelled plans to build the next-generation Nissan X-Trail SUV at the British facility. The first step will be to end its Q30 and QX30 production lines in Sunderland, England, which will happen by the middle of this year.

"Western Europe remains the most challenging and competitive region for premium cars", Infiniti's chief spokesman, Trevor Hale, told Reuters.

According to Car Sales Base, the brand sold just 6250 vehicles across Europe previous year, down from 12,571 in 2017.

Infiniti will continue selling cars in Russian Federation and eastern Europe, it said.

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Infiniti has announced a restructuring plan that will focus the brand on its largest growth markets, which are North America and China.

It said Infiniti cars would be electrified from 2021, while high-polluting diesel-powered models will be discontinued in response to strong consumer and regulatory demand for cleaner transport.

The carmaker made a decision to shift production of its Q30 unit to Japan amid weak sales in western Europe, with work due to conclude in Sunderland "by mid-2019".

As it prepares to withdraw from western Europe, Infiniti said it is working to find alternative opportunities for employees who would be affected, consulting with employee representatives where necessary and identifying opportunities for transition and training support where appropriate. Like all other vehicle 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.

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