It was rumored for quite a while but now it's official: Nissan will pull the Infiniti luxury brand from western Europe in early 2020.
Infiniti has announced a restructuring plan that will focus the brand on its largest growth markets, which are North America and China. According to the plan, Infiniti will withdraw from western European markets in early 2020. Sadly, this means that production of the Infiniti Q30 and QX30 will end by mid-2019 at the Sunderland plant in the UK.
The company says the plant management "will discuss any impact on the plant with employees and their representatives." Infiniti also says it is working "to find alternative opportunities for any employees who would be affected, consulting with employee representatives where necessary and identifying opportunities for transition and training support where appropriate."
As for its retailers, the company says it will conclude end of franchise agreements while providing the support and services necessary to ensure a smooth transition. The stores will remain operational until a transition plan is put in place.
The exit from Western Europe will have no impact on the brand’s ongoing operations in Eastern Europe (particularly Russia and CIS countries), the Middle East, and Asia. These markets continue to grow for Infiniti, according to the carmaker.
Infiniti’s restructuring plan has far-reaching consequences for the remaining markets as well, especially China and North America. Infiniti will also electrify its portfolio from 2021 onward, discontinue diesel offerings, and "focus its resources on its biggest opportunities."
For North America, that means Infiniti will place more focus on its SUV lineup, while in China the brand will launch five new vehicles over the next five years. Furthermore, Nissan’s luxury brand pledges to "improve quality of sales and residual value, and realize more synergies with Nissan Motor Company."