Nissan Sunderland takes another blow

Nissan Motor Co’s premium brand Infiniti said on Tuesday it will discontinue the Q30 sedan and the QX30 sport-utility vehicle (SUV) and cease their production by the middle of 2019 at Nissan’s manufacturing factory in Sunderland. 

Nissan employs about 200 workers on Infiniti production in Sunderland, out of a total of about 7,000.

Infiniti said it will exit western Europe early next year as it restructures its global operations and turns its attention to the world’s top two car markets.

Infiniti wants to focus on markets with bigger opportunities including China and the United States — and veer away from a region where non-European premium brands are struggling to compete against BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

Last month, Nissan said its next-generation X-Trail for the European market will be produced in its Kyushu plant in Japan — not at its Sunderland plant as previously announced.

Nissan Europe chairman Gianluca de Ficchy said last month the continued uncertainty around the UK’s future relationship with the EU “is not helping companies like ours” to plan for the future.

The UK’s largest union Unite said it would be working closely with Nissan to protect the jobs of workers affected by the carmaker’s decision.