Nissan scraps Infiniti production at Sunderland plant

Past year the company delivered just 6,000 units in the region.

"This restructuring plan will have no impact on Infiniti's ongoing operations in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia, which continue to grow", it added.

So far this year Infiniti's sales are down almost 11 percent to 20,909 units in the United States. The stores will remain operational until a transition plan is put in place.

The Nissan division added that it aimed to transform Infiniti into a "top challenger brand" in the premium sector of the world auto marketplace.

Sky News reported last week that shifts at the Sunderland plant could be reduced from three to two a day and potential result in up to 400 job losses. Infiniti says it's working to find "alternative opportunities for any employees who would be affected".

The carmaker chose to shift production of its Q30 unit to Japan amid weak sales in western Europe, with work due to conclude in Sunderland "by mid-2019".

Infiniti said an exit from western Europe will allow it to focus on its initiative to "electrify" a good portion of its product portfolio from 2021 and discontinue diesel offerings.

Unite said it would be seeking assurances on future employment and was confident of securing redeployment opportunities for the 200 plus workers affected.

The brand plans to focus more on its SUV lineup in North America, bring five new or significantly-redesigned vehicles to China over the next five years, improve quality of sales and residual value and realise more synergies with Nissan.

'Nissan has reiterated its commitment to the United Kingdom and its workforce by continuing to manufacture in Sunderland the current Qashqai, Leaf and Juke models, as well as the new Qashqai model'.

Vanessa Coleman