Nissan Considers Expanding North American Infiniti Production

Nissan Motor Co. (7201)’s Infiniti, seeking a bigger share of global luxury vehicle sales, is considering adding a second production site in North America to produce models for the brand locally.

Infiniti moved its global headquarters to Hong Kong last year and is preparing to make vehicles in China for sale in that market. The luxury marque of Yokohama, Japan-based Nissan has also said it plans to produce in the U.K. for export.

“In this context, Infiniti is also considering a second manufacturing location in North America,” the company said in a statement yesterday, without elaborating.

Cars under the luxury line are currently manufactured in Japan and the U.S., where a Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, makes one Infiniti model -- the JX crossover. Nissan officials met in Japan this week with Canadian Industry Minister Christian Paradis, who made a pitch for the carmaker to build an Infiniti plant in Canada.

There’s no decision on when and where further production for the Nissan luxury line may be added, Kyle Bazemore, a spokesman for Infiniti’s U.S. unit, said by phone yesterday.

Nissan’s Infiniti, outsold by Toyota Motor Corp. (7203)’s Lexus and Honda Motor Co. (7267)’s Acura, increased U.S. deliveries 4.4 percent in the first quarter to 27,376 cars and light trucks, buoyed by JX sales. Infiniti models are to be built in China from 2014 as the brand targets 200,000 sales annually there by the end of the decade.

U.S. headquarters for Nissan and Infiniti are in Franklin, Tennessee. Nissan builds autos for North America in Canton, Mississippi, and at two plants in Mexico, as well as in Tennessee. A $2 billion auto-assembly plant being built in Aguascalientes, Mexico, Nissan’s third in that country, is scheduled to open late this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles at aohnsman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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