Nissan’s Infiniti Near Decision on North American Factory

Nissan Motor Co. (7201)’s luxury Infiniti brand will build a factory in the U.S. or Mexico to diversify production outside of Japan, the unit’s president said.

The plant will be Infiniti’s second production site in North America, Johan de Nysschen said in Detroit yesterday. The company will decide on the new facility this quarter, he said.

The automaker, which shifted its global headquarters to Hong Kong in 2012, is also building a new facility in the U.K. to produce the compact Q30, de Nysschen said. The U.K. plant, to be completed by next year, will be the worldwide hub for that model, which will be available with gasoline and diesel engines.

Separately, the automaker will begin building two models at parent Nissan Motor’s Xiangyang plant in central China. Infiniti’s sales jumped 54 percent last year to 17,108 in China.

“China is where our future lies,” said de Nysschen. “China will eventually be the world’s largest luxury car market.”

Infinitis are now built in Japan and the U.S., where a Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, makes one model -- the QX60 crossover. Nissan is based in Yokohama, Japan. U.S. sales of the brand, which renamed its models last year as the Infiniti lineup is revamped, fell 2.9 percent to 116,455 in 2013.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

A model stands next to a Nissan Motor Co. Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge vehicle during the 2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit on Jan. 13, 2014. Close

A model stands next to a Nissan Motor Co. Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge vehicle during the... Read More

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Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

A model stands next to a Nissan Motor Co. Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge vehicle during the 2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit on Jan. 13, 2014.

China will probably become Infiniti’s biggest market by sales volume by the end of this decade, de Nysschen said last week. The automaker plans to begin local production of two long-wheelbase models, the Q50 sedan and QX50 crossover, in China this year. Automakers offer stretched versions of their models for China, as consumers there prefer to be chauffeured and seek more back-seat comfort.

Nissan showed a sport sedan concept car yesterday in Detroit that company officials have said may be the basis for the next version of the Maxima. The company also plans to introduce a restyled Titan full-size pickup truck in Detroit next year, said Andy Palmer, Nissan’s executive vice president and chief planning officer.

To contact the reporter on this story: Siddharth Philip in Mumbai at sphilip3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

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