Infiniti to build new compact hatchback at Nissan’s Sunderland plant

Article by Anita Panait, on December 19, 2012

Infiniti, the luxury brand of Japanese carmaker Nissan, will produce its new premium compact hatchback in the United Kingdom. Infiniti will commence the production of the entry model in 2015 at Nissan's Sunderland plant in England. Nissan is set to invest around GBP250 million ($405 million) in the plant to increase its capacity to around 60,000 Infiniti models annually.

Colin Dodge, Nissan's chief performance officer, said in the statement that the milestone of having its first premium product built in Sunderland reconfirms the carmaker’s commitment to UK manufacturing and the ongoing success of the plant.

The new compact will be targeted towards young buyers mainly in Europe, and it will be competing against models like the Mercedes-Benz A class, BMW 1 series and Audi A3. The new compact was previewed by Etherea concept displayed at the 2011 Geneva auto show.

The car could be underpinned by Mercedes' MFA architecture, which also serves as a platform for the A- and B-class model lines. Mercedes parent, Daimler, has a technology sharing partnership with Renault-Nissan.

Infiniti executives have said that the new model will be different from anything currently available in the premium compact class, and will not just be a smaller version of a conservative luxury car. The new Infiniti premium compact hatchback is being developed with the assistance of Nissan's London design center and its European technical center in Cranfield, England. A volume compact hatchback bound to be produced in the Sunderland plant will now have to be built at other plants.

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