Infiniti will build a QX30 crossover variant of the new Q30 premium compact hatch at Nissan’s Sunderland, UK plant from 2015, Infiniti chairman Andy Palmer has revealed to Automotive News.
The new QX30 crossover will rival the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, and will be exported from the North East facility to global markets including the US, he revealed.
Speaking during the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend, Palmer said both the Q30 (which will fight the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3, and which is pictured above in concept guise) and QX30 will be built on Mercedes-Benz’ MFA platform, as used in the A-Class and GLA: the two new Infinitis will thus be Japanese-themed siblings to those cars.
Expected volumes are around 60,000 units a year at the Sunderland plant: Infiniti is building a new body shop and final assembly area on the site to construct the new models.
Palmer said production of the Q30 will begin first, in mid-2015, with the QX30 starting soon after; prices are yet to be confirmed but the competition provides a close indicator of what we can expect.
Deputy PM Nick Clegg visited Sunderland in March 2014 for the announcement of the Q30 contract at Sunderland – helping announce that Nissan is investing £250 million in the facility to produce the new models. Infiniti thus became the first all-new car brand to start manufacturing in Britain in 23 years.
News of the QX30 is a natural addition to the business plan, but it’s still a surprise to hear. An Audi A3 equivalent AND an Audi Q3 equivalent being built in Britain? UK manufacturing continues to go from strength to strength.