The British-built Infiniti Q30 premium compact has entered production in Sunderland.
The first vehicles are now in production at the brand’s newly-built facilities in Sunderland, UK, following a £250m investment that has created 300 new jobs.
Trevor Mann, chief performance officer of Nissan Motor Corporation, joined Roland Krueger, president of Infiniti Motor Company,and the 6,700-strong workforce in Sunderland to mark the latest milestone in Infiniti’s global expansion.
Mann said: “Today we are beginning an exciting new chapter in the Infiniti story, and I can’t think of a better place to start than here at Nissan’s Sunderland plant. Over its 30 year history, Sunderland has grown into the UK’s largest automotive plant. It is renowned for delivering high-quality, top-selling vehicles, and is regarded as a world-class production facility with a highly skilled and dedicated work force.
“To prepare for Q30 production, we invested 250-million pounds here in the UK. This is creating more than 1,000 new jobs in the UK automotive industry. Q30 production is further strengthening our premium vehicle manufacturing capability in Sunderland, and exports to global markets such as China and North America signal the next phase in the expansion of Infiniti and a new chapter for our UK plant.”
The decision to build the Q30 in the UK was made in 2012 in recognition of the quality standards reached by the workforce in Sunderland over many years.
New production facilities covering 25,000 sq m at the Sunderland plant include a 100%-automated body shop, where 134 new robots with laser-welding precision have been installed to build a highly rigid bodyshell, one of the reasons that sound levels in the Q30’s cabin are exceptionally low.
Krueger added: “Q30comes at a moment of significant opportunity for Infiniti. Following a period of record global sales, we are entering a new segment with the Q30. This new active compact will play a vital role in our strategy to become a top tier global premium brand.”
Instrumental in the development of the Infiniti Q30 were the brand’s European design and technical centres in Paddington and Cranfield, UK respectively.
Infiniti is the first new car brand to be manufactured on this scale in the UK in 23 years, supported by a £9.2m grant from the UK Government through the Regional Growth Fund.
The UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, said: “Our automotive sector is the most productive in Europe and that is no small part down to the way government and industry have worked together to develop advanced manufacturing. Today’s announcement demonstrates the strengths of the Northern Powerhouse, with Nissan Sunderland producing models never made outside Japan, China or the US.
“The £250 million investment has not only secured 300 highly-skilled jobs but will also boost our exports, even more so once the premium Infiniti QX30 model goes into production next year.”