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Good news for Sunderland (and the UK)


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Infiniti's concept based car will be built there! +++ So, new jobs!

Nissan’s Sunderland plant is set to build Infiniti’s new compact premium car in a £250m investment that should also create 1000 new jobs across the UK, including 280 direct jobs at the Sunderland plant.

The Infiniti, which was previewed by the 2011 Etherea concept, will be based on the Mercedes front-drive platform that is already used to underpin the new A- and B-class models. Production is scheduled to begin in 2015 and the company is planning for an annual capacity of 60,000 units.

Colin Dodge, Nissan executive vice president, says that Sunderland will be the only plant in the world to build the new Infiniti. Dodge also says that Nissan’s Paddington design studios and Cranfield-based European technical centre have been involved in the development of the new model.

UK Business Secretary Vince Cable described the news as ‘a strong endorsement of the quality of Britain’s car industry, which is creating jobs, taking on apprentices and contributing to building a stronger economy. The auto sector is living up to being one of the great success stories of our industrial strategy and a testimony to government and private sector working together in close partnership.’

There are very few details forthcoming about the new model, but the fact that it shares Mercedes’ new front-drive platform means that it will also have the option of Mercedes’ 1.6- and 2.0-litre turbo petrol engines and 1.8- and 2.2-litre diesel engines. Four-wheel drive and a plug-in hybrid transmission could also be offered.

The arrival of Infiniti is also the first time a new brand has introduced large-scale production into the UK for 23 years, say Nissan bosses. The arrival of the Infiniti project in the North East means that Nissan’s new Golf-rivalling hatchback, which was due to be made at the factory, will now be made elsewhere, with an announcement due later in 2013. (Not sure which one would be better, as the Golf market segment is fairly packed with quality offerings!)

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Edited by News_Stig
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