- First new car brand to be manufactured on this scale in the UK in 23 years
- First Infiniti vehicle built in Europe, expanding global manufacturing footprint
- £250m investment, new facilities and 300 newly created jobs to support premium quality
- First vehicles to be exported from Sunderland to the USA and China
Sunderland/Hong Kong – Infiniti starts production of the Q30 active compact today in Sunderland, UK, as the first vehicle officially rolls off the assembly line.
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 joins 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 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 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 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 25,000m2 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.
After the Q30 is welded,it is integrated onto the plant’s Line 2 for painting and final assembly, where a second plant extension of 14,500m2 has been built. 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: “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. 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.
The UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, says: “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.”
SUNDERLAND PLANT FACTSHEET
- One in 3 British cars is made in Sunderland, the UK’s largest car plant of all time.
- In 2014 Sunderland Plant made over 500,000 for the third consecutive year.
- 80% of production is exported to over 130 international markets
- The plant will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year, having started production in 1986.
- Cumulative investment is £3.67bn with over £1bn invested since 2010, including £250m for Infiniti production.
- The plant employs 6,700 people in Sunderland supporting a further 27,000 UK automotive supply chain jobs, ¾ of which are in North East England.
- A further 900 people are employed by the Nissan and Infiniti design and technical centres in Paddington, London and Cranfield, Bedfordshire.
- The Nissan Skills Foundation engages over 6,500 schoolchildren every year in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through programmes covering manufacturing excellence, electric vehicles and motorsports.
- The plant has two production lines, with the Nissan Qashqai and all-electric LEAF made on Line 1, which runs round the clock on a three-shift work pattern.
- Production of the Infiniti Q30 and QX30 is being integrated onto Line 2, where the Nissan Juke, Juke Nismo RS and Note are made and which operates a two-shift work pattern.
- Other facilities at Sunderland include bumper moulding and painting, a castings plant, machining plant, axle plant, engine assembly and an advanced lithium-ion electric vehicle battery plant.
- Facilities added for Infiniti Q30 include a new Infiniti Body Shop and an extended Trim & Chassis (final assembly) building.
- Infiniti QX30 production will begin in the Spring of 2016.