First Infiniti Q30 rolls off assembly line at new Sunderland facilities

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 28, 2015

Infiniti has commenced production of the Q30 active compact at its newly built manufacturing facilities in Sunderland, United Kingdom. Effectively, the Infiniti Q30 was the first vehicle to officially roll of the site's assembly line.

Likewise, the Q30 is Infiniti's first vehicle to be manufactured in Europe. As part of its global growth plan, Infiniti invested over $375 million (£250 million) into the Sunderland site, leading to the creation of around 300 new jobs.

The Sunderland site now has around 6,700 workers. Infiniti decided in 2012 to have the Q30 built in the UK, recognizing the quality standards achieved by Sunderland's workforce over many years. Then, the site opened the way for thousands of new workers, all trained to become Infiniti's new generation of premium car builders.

In fact, around 4,000 employees underwent a training program designed to make them capable of building cars that meet the expectations of Infiniti customers. Of course, Infiniti's workforce at Sunderland includes a select group of master craftsmen who make sure that every Q30 meets the carmaker's premium manufacturing standards.

The new production facilities at Sunderland cover around 25,000 square meters of the site. These facilities include a fully automated body shop that houses 134 new robots -- with laser-welding precision – for building the Q30's highly rigid body shell. Moreover, Infiniti also built a second plant – covering 14,500 square meters -- for final assembly.

The site also houses the Trim & Chassis shop in which the Infiniti operators perform 1,191 different tasks to complete each Q30 model. Of course, Infiniti's European design center in Paddington, UK and its technical center in Cranfield, UK, played a large role in the development of the Q30.

Representing Infiniti on the field in the UK are its Infiniti Retail Centers. Gracing the production milestone at the Sunderland site are Trevor Mann, Chief Performance Officer of Nissan Motor Corp. and Roland Krueger, president of Infiniti Motor Co.

Mann remarked that the production of the Q30 at the Sunderlant site marks a new chapter in the Infiniti story. He noted that over 30 years since the plant was established, it managed to become UK's largest automotive site known for its high-quality, top-selling vehicles. He added that the Sunderland site is regarded as a world-class production facility home to a highly skilled and dedicated workforce.

Mann remarked that the Sunderland plant received £250 million in investments to get it ready to produce the Q30 production, resulting to over 1,000 new jobs in the UK auto industry. He added that Q30 production is boosting Infiniti's premium vehicle manufacturing capability in Sunderland.

He noted that exports from UK to global markets like China and North America indicate the next phase in Infiniti's expansion and a new chapter for the Sunderland plant.

On the other hand, Krueger remarked that the Q30 comes at a time of significant opportunity for Infiniti, particularly that the carmaker recently posted record global sales. He remarked that the Q30 will allow them to enter the compact segment as part of Infiniti's strategy to become a top tier global premium brand.

Press Release

INFINITI Q30 OFFICIALLY STARTS PRODUCTION IN SUNDERLAND, UK

Infiniti starts production of the Q30 active compact today in Sunderland, UK, as the first vehicle officially rolls off the assembly line.

The first new Infiniti Q30 vehicles are now in production at the brand’s newly-built facilities in Sunderland, UK, following a £250m investment that has created 300 new jobs.

Infiniti’s first compact model,the Q30, is also the brand’s first vehicle to be manufactured in Europe. As part of its global growth plan, Infiniti vehicles are now built in five plants in four countries on three continents.

Trevor Mann, Chief Performance Officer of Nissan Motor Corporation, today joins Roland Krueger, President of Infiniti Motor Company,and the 6,700-strong workforce in Sunderland to mark the latest milestone in Infiniti’s global expansion.

Mann says: “Today we are beginning an exciting new chapter in the Infiniti story, and I can’t think of a better place to start than here at Nissan’s Sunderland plant. Over its 30 year history, Sunderland has grown into the UK’s largest automotive plant. It is renowned for delivering high-quality, top-selling vehicles, and is regarded as a world-class production facility with a highly skilled and dedicated work force.

“To prepare for Q30 production, we invested 250-million pounds here in the UK. This is creating more than 1,000 new jobs in the UK automotive industry. Q30 production is further strengthening our premium vehicle manufacturing capability in Sunderland, and exports to global markets such as China and North America signal the next phase in the expansion of Infiniti and a new chapter for our UK plant.”

The decision to build the Q30 in the UK was made in 2012 in recognition of the outstanding quality standards reached by the workforce in Sunderland over many years. Since then, the plant’s journey to Infiniti has created a new generation of premium car builders, with an unprecedented training programme for 4,000 staff in the requirements and expectations of Infiniti customers.

The workforce also includes a select group of newly-appointed master craftspeople. At each stage of the production process, they ensure every individual Q30 meets Infiniti’s premium manufacturing standards.

New production facilities covering 25,000m2 at the Sunderland plant include a 100%-automated body shop, where 134 new robots with laser-welding precision have been installed to build a highly rigid bodyshell, one of the reasons that sound levels in the Q30’s cabin are exceptionally low.

After the Q30 is welded,it is integrated onto the plant’s Line 2 for painting and final assembly, where a second plant extension of 14,500m2 has been built. The manufacturing process has been tailored to ensure every Q30 is made for the individual at the Trim & Chassis shop where the Infiniti operators perform 1,191 different tasks to complete each model.

Roland Krueger says: “Q30comes at a moment of significant opportunity for Infiniti. Following a period of record global sales, we are entering a new segment with the Q30. This new active compact will play a vital role in our strategy to become a top tier global premium brand.”

Instrumental in the development of the Infiniti Q30 were the brand’s European design and technical centres in Paddington and Cranfield, UK respectively. With an expanding network of Infiniti Retail Centres in the UK, the introduction of Q30 manufacturing in Sunderland demonstrates the brand’s strong commitment to the UK.

Infiniti is the first new car brand to be manufactured on this scale in the UK in 23 years, supported by a £9.2m grant from the UK Government through the Regional Growth Fund.

The UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, says: “Our automotive sector is the most productive in Europe and that is no small part down to the way government and industry have worked together to develop advanced manufacturing. Today’s announcement demonstrates the strengths of the Northern Powerhouse, with Nissan Sunderland producing models never made outside Japan, China or the US.

“The £250 million investment has not only secured 300 highly-skilled jobs but will also boost our exports, even more so once the premium Infiniti QX30 model goes into production next year.”

For more information, images and videos about the Q30 start of production ceremony, please visit www.infinitiq30news.com. All assets are available for download, registration-free.

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