Nissan said that beginning in 2014, Magna Steyr (the Austrian contract manufacturer) will produce a new premium compact car for its Infiniti brand. Through a statement, Infiniti chief Andy Palmer said that the car will help the brand reach new consumers and expand in key markets like western Europe. Nissan didn’t offer further information on the car or say if it will be sold in markets outside Europe like in the U.S.
Last December, sources told Automotive News Europe that Nissan hopes to release the entry-level car globally to help get a 10% share of the global luxury market. Previously, Infiniti executives said that the entry-level model will go up against premium compact cars like the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A class.
It’s believed that the car will be based on Mercedes's MFA compact platform that is used for the new A- and B-class cars. In 2010, Renault-Nissan and Mercedes parent Daimler revealed a strategic cooperation between the two companies. A report from Automotive News Europe last December also said that Daimler will supply numerous preassembled "complete parts" to Infiniti. Back then, sources said that around 50,000 to 60,000 units annually of the Infiniti could be produced in Graz.
These cars will be exported worldwide and will be available with Mercedes' four- and six-cylinder diesel and gasoline engines. Infiniti is able to prevent possibly enormous development costs by using Mercedes parts.
In return, Mercedes gets licensing fees for every manufactured vehicle and gains from economies of scale. It was in 2008 that Infiniti started to sell cars in Europe but progress was slow as it faced competition from established German premium competitors and Toyota's Lexus. In 2011, Infiniti sold 3,681 cars in Europe, a 54% increase on 2010, according to a JATO Dynamics report.