► Infiniti prepares for new Q30 hatch
► To be built at Nissan’s Sunderland plant
► 300 new staff being recruited
Infiniti is recruiting 300 new staff as it prepares for production of the new Q30 hatchback at parent company Nissan’s Sunderland factory in the north-east of England.
It will be the first Infiniti to be built at Britain’s biggest car plant, which normally churns out the best-selling Qashqai. And when those jobs are filled, it’ll take the total headcount at the factory to 6800.
The Q30: target Audi A3, BMW 1-series
This is the car that Infiniti so desperately needs if it is to elevate from niche saloon and crossover specialist to proper, full-scale premium player. It’s aimed at the posher end of the compact hatchback market - against cars such as BMW’s 1-series and Audi’s A3.
Not to mention the Mercedes A-class, with which it shares its Mercedes Front-wheel drive Architecture (MFA). That’s the result of the Renault-Nissan-Daimler alliance, which already sees the automotive groups collaborate on everything from engines to small-car projects such as the Twingo/Fortwo duo.
Nissan has invested £250 million in Sunderland to accommodate the Q30 hatchback, which goes into production in autumn 2015. The company claims it’s the first new brand to start high-volume series car production in the UK for 23 years.
The Infiniti Q30 and QX30 crossover
At a recent visit to Infiniti’s new London design studio in Paddington we saw a clay model for the Q30 (above), showing that it'll change little from the concept car (first picture in gallery). And it'll be joined by a compact crossover in 2016. Good to see that Infiniti is finally getting the downsized, on-trend models it’s been crying out for for so long. At a stroke, it should fall onto more buyers’ radar as a result.
Both models will be built exclusively in England, with exports to global markets, including North America and China. The 300 new jobs announced today are for the Q30; further recruitment will be likely to support the launch of the SUV.