Infiniti, Nissan’s premium vehicle line, announced it will leave Western Europe by early next year. According to Infiniti, this move from Western Europe is so more focus can be put on their global operations; including sales marketed toward China and the United States.
To smoothly transition out of Western Europe, Infiniti plans to slowly withdraw from the Nissan Plant in Sutherland, England. The Q30 and QX30 models will be immediately discontinued before all production stopping by mid-2019.
This move may be beneficial to Infiniti, but it will bring a level of hardships to the citizens of the U.K. With a total of 55 retail stores and the plant in Sutherland, a number of workers will be laid off. However, with this realization in mind, Infiniti has promised to help these employees find alternative jobs.
The decision to move was brought on by several factors, one of the biggest being the condition of the market in Western Europe. While luxury brand vehicles are in, Western Europeans seem to prefer luxury brand vehicles local to the area; including brands like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes Benz. As a result, Infiniti has been struggling to keep sales up; evident in their lackluster sale of only 5,800 vehicles last year. Not to mention, the vehicle standards in Western Europe have become quite high; causing Infiniti to not always be able to meet regulatory and Euro 6 emission requirements.
Another big factor that swayed Infiniti was the political climate. The U.K. not too long ago made the choice to leave the European Union; making themselves no longer apart of Europe and their own separate country. This choice caused an amount of economic instability Infiniti and Nissan are unwilling to deal with. A telltale sign not only being this recent announcement by Infiniti but Nissan’s decision to build its new X-Trail SUV in Japan instead of Britain.
With this move from Western Europe, Infiniti sees a bright future. According to Infiniti, it gives them to chance to work more on making their 2021 vehicles electric and halting the production of diesel options. In addition to this, Infiniti wants to begin marketing their sales more to the U.S. and China. This marketing initiative will be led by turning its attention to the crossover/SUV line in the U.S and in five years, five new vehicles for China. This is all done with the hope that over the years there will be an increase in sales, residual value and synergies.