Nissan's UK plant will build new Infiniti compact car
Nissan's Infiniti brand today said it will build its new premium compact hatchback in the UK.
Production of the luxury brand's entry model will begin in 2015 for global markets at Nissan's plant in Sunderland, England, Infiniti said in a statement.
Nissan will invest about 250 million pounds ($405 million) in the plant to expand capacity to produce 60,000 Infiniti models a year.
"This milestone, our first premium product to be manufactured at Sunderland, reconfirms our commitment to UK manufacturing and the ongoing success of the plant, which is moving up the value chain," said Colin Dodge, Nissan's chief performance officer, in the statement.
The new compact will be aimed at young buyers, mainly in Europe, and will compete against models such as the Mercedes-Benz A class, BMW 1 series and Audi A3.
The car was previewed by the Etherea concept unveiled at the 2011 Geneva auto show. It is likely to be built on Mercedes's MFA architecture, which underpins the A- and B-class model lines. Mercedes parent Daimler has a technology sharing partnership with Renault-Nissan.
Infiniti executives have previously said the car will be different from anything currently available in the premium compact class, not just a smaller version of a conservative luxury car.
The new Infiniti is being developed with help from Nissan's London design center and its European technical center in Cranfield, England.
Nissan said a volume compact hatchback announced for the Sunderland plant in April will now be built elsewhere. Sourcing for this vehicle will be decided and announced at a later date, the automaker said.
The compact is due to launch in 2014 and will be a successor to the Almera that Nissan stopped building in Sunderland in 2006.
You can reach Paul McVeigh at email@example.com.