Infiniti Withdraws From Western Europe, Closes Sunderland Production Line

Luxury brand Infiniti has announced it is to withdraw from all of its Western European markets in early 2020.

The company, part of Nissan, intends to focus its efforts in the territories where it experiences the largest growth, including North America and China. It’s also retaining its presence in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as these markets also grow.

Infiniti’s UK sales in 2018 were nothing short of a disaster. After four successive years of growth, the brand sold just 750 cars across 2018, representing a drop of almost 80%, wiping out all the ground it had gained. Across Europe, Infiniti’s sales halved in 2018 compared to 2017.

The move has a major effect in our region too. Infiniti builds the Q30 hatchback and QX30 crossover in a dedicated part of Nissan’s sprawling Sunderland site. With the withdrawal from the market, Infiniti is also cancelling production of these vehicles — once touted as the models that would put the brand on the European map with 30,000 sales a year.

This is the second announcement in five weeks to affect manufacturing at Sunderland. Nissan’s decision to consolidate X-Trail production in Japan rather than use Sunderland for the European market lead many to point the finger at Brexit uncertainty.

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