Infiniti cars will no longer be sold in Western Europe from 2020 after Nissan bosses decided to pull the premium brand from the market.
A statement released on Tuesday confirmed the luxury car maker will terminate UK production of vehicles at the Sunderland plant, putting around 250 jobs at risk.
It’s a second blow for the factory in as many months after the Japanese company confirmed in early February that it had cancelled plans to build the next-generation Nissan X-Trail SUV at the British facility.
Bosses said the decision was made after years of poor sales volumes since the brand was launched in 2008. Just 750 Infiniti models were bought by Britons last year.
Two Infinitis are built in the UK – the QX30 (left) and Q30 (right) hatchbacks – alongside assembly lines for the Nissan Qashqai SUV and Leaf electric car.
‘Unite is confident however that workers on the Infiniti Q30 production line who want to stay with Nissan can be redeployed within the Sunderland plant onto other models,’ he said.
‘In the coming weeks Unite will be working closely with Nissan to protect jobs and ensure that redeployment is carried out in an open and transparent way.
‘We will also be seeking assurances on future employment levels and the production of other models at Sunderland.’
A Government spokesperson told This is Money: ‘As Infiniti has said, this is a global commercial decision to withdraw from Western Europe to focus on Infiniti’s growth market in North America and China.
‘Regardless, this is a disappointing decision for the up to 250 dedicated workers at Sunderland who could be affected – but the company’s commitment to find alternative opportunities for those employees is welcome.
‘Nissan has reiterated its commitment to the UK and its workforce by continuing to manufacture in Sunderland the current Qashqai, Leaf and Juke models, as well as the new Qashqai model.’