Brian Joss –
The first new Infiniti Q30 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.
Infiniti’s first compact model, the Q30, is also the brand’s first vehicle to be manufactured in Europe. As part of its global growth plan, Infiniti vehicles are now built in five plants in four countries on three continents.
Trevor Mann, Chief Performance Officer of Nissan Motor Corporation,today joinsRoland 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 says: “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 workforce.
“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 outstanding quality standards reached by the workforce in Sunderland over many years. Since then, the plant’s journey to Infiniti has created a new generation of premium car builders, with an unprecedented training programme for 4,000 staff in the requirements and expectations of Infiniti customers.
The workforce also includes a select group of newly-appointed master craftspeople. At each stage of the production process, they ensure every individual Q30 meets Infiniti’s premium manufacturing standards.
New production facilities covering 25 000 sq m at the Sunderland plant include a100%-automated body shop, where 134 new robots with laser-welding precision have been installed to build a highly rigid body shell, which makes the Q30 an exceptionally quiet car.
The second plant extension of 14 500m2 has been built for final assembly. The manufacturing process has been tailored to ensure every Q30 is made for the individual at the Trim & Chassis shop where the Infiniti operators perform 1,191 different tasks to complete each model.
Roland Krueger says: “Q30 comes 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. With an expanding network of Infiniti Retail Centres in the UK, the introduction of Q30 manufacturing in Sunderland demonstrates the brand’s strong commitment to the UK.
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.