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Nissan to withdraw luxury Infiniti brand in Western Europe in 2020

Media view the Infiniti display at the New York International Auto Show on March 28, 2018 in New York. (Getty/Kyodo)

LONDON (Kyodo) -- Nissan Motor Co. said Tuesday it will withdraw its luxury Infiniti brand from markets in Western Europe in early 2020, while ceasing production of Infiniti models at its British plant amid fierce competition from German rivals.

Nissan will focus Infiniti sales on its largest growth markets of North America and China as part of restructuring. The Japanese carmaker will halt production of the brand's Q30 and QX30 models at its Sunderland plant in Britain by mid-2019.

The move is the latest review of European strategy by Nissan, which said last month it was canceling a plan to produce the new model of the X-Trail sport utility vehicle at the same Sunderland plant, citing uncertainties over the terms of Britain's exit from the European Union.

Honda Motor Co. also said in February it will close its auto plant in Britain in 2021 due to slower sales in Europe, while Toyota Motor Corp. said earlier this month it may pull out of production in the country around 2023 in the event of no-deal Brexit.

According to the British media, Nissan's decision to halt Infiniti production at the Sunderland plant, with an output of 440,000 units in 2018, will put 250 jobs at risk.

Nissan said, "Plant management will discuss any impact on the plant with employees and their representatives."

Nissan's latest move will have no impact on operations in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia, the company said.

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