Issue: Sep 2013


GEARING UP FOR INFINITI PRODUCTION IN EUROPE



Major expansion of Sunderland Plant to support Infiniti production

by Nick Palmen

: Infiniti production in Europe is moving even closer after approval was given to build a major new extension to the record-breaking production facility in Sunderland.

This new production area, designed to manufacture the first ever Infiniti built in Europe, will cover 25,000m and will house specialist equipment in the body and final assembly areas of the production line.

This extension forms part of the previously announced £250m investment by Infiniti which will create over 1,000 new jobs in the UK automotive industry.

The Q30 Concept vehicle which will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week, reveals a design vision of the future European production model.

“The Q30 Concept signals the next step in our strategy to significantly extend into new premium segments – and the production car will fully deliver on the concept’s promise”, said Fintan Knight, Vice President, Infiniti Europe. “The compact segment is crucial for our future growth plans and the decision to invest and build the vehicle in the UK further underlines our long term commitment to Europe.

Construction work at Sunderland is due to start in the coming weeks after planning approval was granted by Sunderland City Council’s Development Control Committee yesterday (Sept 4).

Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan’s Vice President for Manufacturing in the UK, said: “The arrival of Infiniti will mark a new chapter in our operations in Sunderland.

“The Q30 Concept represents a new direction for this premium segment and for the Infiniti brand. Equally, this expansion reflects how Infiniti production will enhance manufacturing capability not only in our operations but throughout our supply chain.”

This latest phase in the expansion of facilities at Sunderland comes after the plant cemented its place as the biggest UK car factory of all time by surpassing 500,000 vehicles built in 2012.

When production begins in 2015, Infiniti will become the first new car brand to be manufactured in the UK on this scale in 23 years. Nissan’s Sunderland Plant was chosen as the production location for this model in recognition of the workforce’s productivity and quality achievements over many years. The new model will fulfill the highest Infiniti quality standards for the premium market.

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