Infiniti ducks out of Western Europe, takes two models with it
Nissan’s luxury marque, Infiniti has revealed it’s departing the Western European market as part of a restructure, with the company blaming poor sales.
Infiniti had played down reports of this news coming a month ago, saying there was “no truth” to any potential withdrawal; but today the company whipped the covers off plans to focus on its largest markets in North America and China.
In the release, the company said it would “place more focus on its SUV lineup in North America, bring five new vehicles to China over the next five years, work to improve quality of sales and residual value” - and in a corporate flourish of words - “realise more synergies” with its parent company.
Other operations in smaller markets - Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the rest of Asia - would not be affected, according to Infiniti, which said in those markets the brand continued to grow.
The date for Infiniti’s withdrawal from the saturated Western European market is sometime in 2020, with a transition plan to be enacted to keep currently operating dealerships and services available to existing customers, and a tailored plan to allow current employees to find alternate work.
In addition to a departure from the market, the company also announced it would cease production of the Q30 and QX30 models at its Sunderland plant in northern England, with the company aiming for a mid-2019 shut-down there.
The end of the Q30 and QX30 models from Sunderland means the end of the models for Australia, as Sunderland was the only facility that produced them.