Nissan's Infiniti to exit western Europe early next year

Infiniti withdrawal will see UK production end and dealerships close

Nissan to end Sunderland production of luxury Infiniti brand

Its been announced that Nissan will stop manufacturing their premium brand Infiniti models at the Sunderland plant later this year.

Infiniti is the latest automotive brand to decide to pull out of Western Europe.

It's a second blow for the factory in as many months after the Japanese company confirmed in early February that it had cancelled plans to build the next-generation Nissan X-Trail SUV at the British facility.

"Western Europe remains the most challenging and competitive region for premium cars", Infiniti's chief spokesman, Trevor Hale, said.

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Britain and Ireland's largest union, Unite said it would be working closely with Nissan to protect the jobs of workers affected by the carmaker's decision. Infiniti's best-ever year in Europe was in 2015 when it sold almost 14,000 vehicles.

The brand plans to focus more on its SUV lineup in North America, bring five new or significantly-redesigned vehicles to China over the next five years, improve quality of sales and residual value and realize more synergies with Nissan.

"The commercial reality for Infiniti in western Europe is that there is simply no visibility of a viable and sustainable business, especially given the regulatory challenges", he added.

Instead, Nissan plans to promote the Infiniti brand in the United States and Chinese markets.

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Infiniti promises that it will assist impacted workers in finding employment and negotiate end-of-franchise agreements with its retail outlets.

A spokesman said that the targets could be met by Infiniti, like any other vehicle maker, with investment in electrified technology, but there was no viable way of the company to do so.

Infiniti launched in Europe in 2008 and has struggled to find a foothold ever since.

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