Nissan's Infiniti to exit western Europe early next year

Infiniti The Car Expert

The Japanese auto maker said the move was part of plans to withdraw from the premium vehicle market in western Europe, where the Infiniti brand faces stiff competition from local rivals including Jaguar Land Rover, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Despite entering a hot market segment, the Q30 and QX30 have proven to be slow sellers globally.

Nissan also recently scrapped plans to build its new X-Trail SUV in Britain amid the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, saying it had taken the decision to optimise its investments by building the next generation model in Japan.

"This restructuring plan will have no impact on Infiniti's ongoing operations in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia, which continue to grow", it added. Infiniti's best-ever year in Europe was in 2015 when it sold almost 14,000 vehicles.

Infiniti has struggled to effectively meet emissions and other regulatory requirements in Europe, Hale said, referring to stringent Euro 6 emissions requirements and other regulatory challenges.

Infiniti The Car Expert
Infiniti centres will remain open – for now

Infiniti announced Tuesday that as part of a "restructuring plan" that will favor the large United States and China markets, the automaker will cease operations in Western Europe.

Infiniti will continue selling cars in Russian Federation and eastern Europe, it said. Infiniti intends on electrifying its portfolio by 2021, which might not be fast enough for Europe's liking.

"Infiniti markets and sells independently as a premium brand", a company representative explained to The Drive.

The move will mean the end of 250 manufacturing jobs in Sunderland, although Nissan said it hopes to find alternative work for the employees affected. Like all other auto 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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