SILVERSTONE, England – The Infiniti QX30 compact SUV will be built for global markets -- including the U.S. and China -- at Nissan's factory in England, alongside the Infiniti Q30 hatchback.
Production of the Q30 will begin in mid-2015 with QX30 output starting shortly after, Infiniti Chairman Andy Palmer said.
Nissan is installing annual production capacity of 60,000 units for the two models at its factory in Sunderland, northeast England. "We plan to supply the Q30 and QX30 globally from Sunderland including to the United States and China,” Palmer said.
The Q30 will be a rival to the Audi A3 and BMW 1 series. Infiniti unveiled a Q30 concept at the 2013 Frankfurt auto show. The Q30 will be mainly targeted at Europe, where there is strong demand for premium compacts.
Palmer also said Infiniti will show a QX30 concept to preview the production model's design, but he did not give a date for the unveiling. The QX30 will compete against the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA.
Infiniti has not said how much the Q30 and QX30 will cost, but Palmer said they will be aligned with the equivalent offerings from Audi.
The Q30 and QX30 will share a platform and engines with the Mercedes A-class and GLA models. "We are using Mercedes' MFA vehicle architecture, as well as their 2.0-liter gasoline and diesel engines," Palmer told Automotive News Europe in an interview on the sidelines of the Formula One world championship race here.
Palmer said Infiniti had considered developing its own platform for its compact range, but opted to use Mercedes’s MFA (Modular Front Architecture). "When you buy into premium, the platform needs to be stiffer, the suspension needs to be better, the NVH (noise-vibration-harshness) needs to be better, and that’s where we came to the agreement that we would use the MFA platform,” he said.
The Infiniti models' use Mercedes engines was another reason to pick the Mercedes platform, Palmer said.
Work started at the Sunderland plant last October on building new body shop and final assembly facilities for the Infiniti models.