Infiniti, Nissan’s premium offshoot, has confirmed that it will manufacture vehicles in Europe from Nissan’s production base in Sunderland, UK. The announcement represents an investment of around £250 million into the facility and is expected to secure a further 1,000 jobs at Sunderland and across the UK.
Colin Dodge CBE, Nissan Motor Co Ltd’s executive VP and chief performance officer, said: “This milestone, our first premium product to be manufactured at Sunderland, reconfirms our commitment to UK manufacturing and the ongoing success of the plant, which is moving up the value chain.
“Just as important, the new Infiniti, which will be exported around the world, is being developed with help from our London design centre and our European Technical Centre at Cranfield.”
The all-new “premium entry compact” Infiniti model is expected to be produced from 2015 and will allow the brand to compete within the heart of the premium segment for the first time, underlining Infiniti’s ambition to be a major global rival to the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus. All of those brands have cars smaller than the smallest Infiniti, the G range.
When production begins, Infiniti will be the first new car brand to be manufactured in the UK on this scale in 23 years. Sunderland, which builds the Qashqai, Qashqai+2, Juke and Note, will have the capacity to produce 60,000 Infiniti cars per year.
The announcement coincides with the news that this year, Sunderland will produce more than half a million cars for the first time – the first manufacturer to achieve this milestone in the UK. Global exports from the plant now exceed five million units.