Infiniti Exits Western Europe For the United States, China
Infiniti, Nissan's premium brand, announced that they will exit their operation in Western Europe early next as they focus their global operations to China and the United States. The company said that it will end the distribution of the Q30 and QX30 models and terminate their operations of its plant in Sunderland, England by the middle of 2019. The two car models are distributed globally but they are only produced in Sunderland.
If the move persists it will end 250 manufacturing jobs in Sunderland. Nissan announced that they are exploring alternatives for those who will lose their jobs. The company plans to divert its resources to much bigger markets with higher possibilities as they struggle to compete with European brands in the region. The company competes with local brands that include the Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz in the European region.
Trevor Hale, the chief spokesman of Infiniti, said that western Europe remains the most challenging and competitive region for premium cars. He added that the sales of the company in Western Europe almost halved last year to 5, 800 vehicles. The spokesperson assured that they will continue selling cars in Eastern Europe and in Russia. He also said that the company has struggled to effectively meet emissions and other regulatory requirements in the continent, referring to the Euro 6 emissions requirements and other regulatory challenges. According to him, 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.
The company said that their move to exit Western Europe will allow them to focus on their initiative to "electrify" its product portfolio from 2021and to discontinue diesel offerings. The company plans to focus its operations on its SUV line-up in North America as they bring five new models or significantly-redesigned vehicles to China for the next five years to improve its sales and residual value and realize more synergies with Nissan.
The company said that it is all part of Infiniti's vision to become a top challenger brand in the premium segment. The company also announced that it is working to find alternative opportunities for employees who would be affected as it prepares to end its operation in Western Europe. They are consulting with the representatives of its employees to determine appropriate support as they opportunities for the transition. Currently, the company has 51 employees in its western Europe operations.