Auto News: Infiniti Will Cease European Presence In Early 2020

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

Infiniti aims to withdraw from Western Europe by early 2020.

It added the restructuring plan "will have no impact on Infiniti's ongoing operations in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia, which continue to grow". A year ago the company delivered just 6,000 units in the region.

In the USA it plans to focus Infiniti on sports-utility vehicles and in China it plans to launch five new vehicles.

In line with the trends in the industry, all diesel engines will be phased out, and the entire range of cars is to be electrified from 2021.

Nissan to end Sunderland production of luxury Infiniti brand
Infiniti Leaving Western Europe In 2020, Ending Q30, QX30 UK Production This Summer

Around 250 employees at the Sunderland auto factory are dedicated to Infiniti production. The company says it will work to "find alternative opportunities for any employees who would be affected" by the withdrawal from Western Europe. Customers are advised to contact their local Infiniti dealer or visit the ownership section of the Infiniti website for more information.

Steve Bush, a national officer of the union Unite said: "This decision, which is driven by poor sales, is obviously sad news".

According to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), Lexus registered 12,405 vehicles in the United Kingdom 2018 while Infiniti only managed 750 - down from 3,515 the year before. The Japanese carmaker will halt production of the brand's Q30 and QX30 models at its Sunderland plant in Britain by mid-2019.

Once this is complete, the company says it will on ending its agreements with franchised dealers, providing "the support and services necessary to ensure a smooth transition".

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