Being a global automaker means having to deal with the rising and falling tides of currency. The climate is particularly difficult in Japan, where the yen is valued at record levels compared to the American dollar. Since a giant chunk of Japanese automotive exports are shipped off to America, that means greatly diminished profits.

As of the end of 2011, Infiniti, Nissan's in-house luxury marque, doesn't build any vehicles outside of it home country of Japan, though the QX full-size SUV was built in the United States for a time. That's all about to change, however, starting with the Infiniti JX crossover that's slated for production in early 2012 in Smyrna, Tennessee.

Soon, more models will be built outside of Japan. "As cars come up for renewal, generally they're being relocated in a function of where the majority of sales are," said Andy Palmer, executive vice president of Infiniti, speaking to Automotive News. We'd guess, then, that the upcoming small hatchback from Infiniti, which is said to be inspired by the Etherea Concept, will be built in Europe.

Even models that continue to be assembled in Japan – important, says Palmer, because, "Part of the myth of Infiniti is Japanese craftsmanship..." – will feature more parts imported from outside the country. Currently, Infiniti averages about 15 percent imported parts content for vehicles assembled in Japan, but the automaker is targeting a new goal of 65 percent "non-yen" content.

If production outside Japan goes well, expect the trend of Japanese brands building more and more vehicles beyond its borders to continue as automakers look to bolster profits in the face of a strong yen. "Somebody in this industry has got to demonstrate that you can make luxury outside of Germany and Japan successfully over time," concludes Palmer. We're guessing he doesn't mean Cadillac...


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  • 21 Comments
      lumleyq45
      • 3 Years Ago
      I will never buy another Infinity if they are not produced in Japan. I have owned several since the 1989 models.
      Bret Frohwein
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hmmm... ignoring the usual string of arm-chair critics (oh wait, I'm one too) what I see here is a hell of a lot more Jobs for Americans.. why is this bad?
        S.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Bret Frohwein
        "Because Infiniti ain't an Amurrican company." [/redneck] Just kidding on that. I'm 100% all for more jobs for Americans, no matter who's doing the hiring!
          Jh
          • 3 Years Ago
          @S.
          That good cuz the too many so-called American companies have taken their plants overseas and to Mexico. So now the foreign companies are helping put Americans to work more than the fat cat CEO's of the American ones.
      kingpintam
      • 3 Years Ago
      Watch Infinti become FINITE. The reason that cars made in Japan and Germany are better is because of the work ethics of the populace.When u work for a paycheck and have no regard about the quality u will fail.That being said compare a VW produced in Mexico vs Germany and you will see what I am talking about.If Infiniti moves out of Japan, the only place it can move to and retain quality is in North America.Maybe they can come to Ontario and help my province
      masonperegrine
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Somebody in this industry has got to demonstrate that you can make luxury outside of Germany and Japan successfully over time." BMW and Mercedes have already PROVED this by building nearly every SUV they make for the world market in the United States. He can stop acting like Infiniti are innovators for building cars in America.
        sensibility2
        • 3 Years Ago
        @masonperegrine
        You are kidding, right? Mercedes ML SUV probrams are legendary especially the previous and early models. BMW X5? There are many reasons why 3rd world secondary markets don't want them.
          Greg
          • 3 Years Ago
          @sensibility2
          I remember all of the jokes about how if you were looking for a new 1997 Mercedes M Class all you had to do was look for one tipped over on the highway somewhere. The quality issues with the first gen MLs were horrific supposedly.
      tomatoflight
      • 3 Years Ago
      Infiniti's quality comes from essentially being a premium Nissan car, built in Japan. Go to Japan and you see a whole bunch of Fuga's and they're making a big mistake if they move all of their cars out of Japan. I'm not shelling out 50k+ on a car not made with the same standards.
      Seph
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maybe Nissan can bring out all of their production out of japan, but Infiniti? hmmm.. not a good move, i guess..
      rmkensington
      • 3 Years Ago
      Based on that last review of one of infinitis cars i read in automobile magazine they got some serious electrical bugs. Overall the car spent 60 days in the shop during their long term test. Among several things the sunroof broke and it took 28 days to get a replacement part.
      Karl T
      • 3 Years Ago
      Am I missing where they'll build??
      _M7_
      • 3 Years Ago
      ...and the secon reason its couse they wnat to made good cars again ?? XD japan power :)
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