Infiniti gets ready to take on the Audi A3 and company with a new premium hatchback to be built in England starting in 2015.
These days a luxury automaker can't get by without a premium hatchback. BMW has the 1 Series, Audi the A3, Mercedes-Benz the new A-Class and Lexus the CT200h, to name a few. Infiniti has long been expected to be entering that same market, and has now confirmed such a project for production. Previewed by the Etherea concept from 2011, the new Infiniti hatchback will be built at the Nissan plant in Sunderland, England, starting in 2015. The facility just reached a capacity of 500,000 units annually, making it the largest in the UK.
A £250 million expansion of the plant will bring in another 1,000 jobs to produce up to 60,000 Infinitis per year for domestic consumption and export, though US arrival has yet to be confirmed. Based on a front-drive Mercedes platform, the luxury hatchback will be the first fruit of the partnership between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler. Though the Etherea concept packed a 245hp supercharged four with a hybrid CVT transmission, the production version's engine lineup has yet to be announced, but is likely to come with the platform from Mercedes-Benz. Given Infiniti's new naming strategy, we'd expect the new premium hatch to be called Q30 or Q40.