The name of the game these days in the luxury marketplace is premium compacts. BMW has the 1 Series and 2 Series, Mercedes the A-Class, B-Class, CLA and GLA, Audi has the A1 and A3, even Lexus has the CT 200h. Among the last to get in on the action is Infiniti, but that's all about to change.
Nissan's luxury brand has been working towards a premium compact for some time, revealing the Q30 concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year and signing a new deal with Daimler to help develop and produce it. Now it seems that both it and a crossover version have been approved for production.
The news comes from Andy Palmer, Nissan's UK-based COO, chairman of Infiniti and one of the company's top executives under CEO Carlos Ghosn. Late last week Palmer tweeted the following:
Johan de Nysschen just said that we'll build our Q30 premium compact car and QX30 crossover in the UK (Sunderland) next year. I'm proud.- Andy Palmer (@NissanAndy) June 26, 2014
The announcement confirms not only the Q30 hatchback but also a QX30 crossover, both to be built at Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK in Sunderland, one of Europe's largest auto assembly plants and current home to the Qashqai and Juke crossovers.
So how does this announcement relate to the new joint venture established between Nissan and Daimler to build a new generation of compact models in Aguascalientes, Mexico? We reached out for comment to Infiniti spokesman Stefan Weinmann, who told Autoblog that, "When Q30 gets launched, it will be exclusively produced in Sunderland. Aguascalientes comes into play several years down the road on a future-generation premium compact model." Weinmann told us that it's too early to comment beyond that, but that Infiniti would "make more detailed announcements on this vehicle in due course."
Given that Infiniti recently launched the Juke-based ESQ premium compact crossover for the Chinese market, of course there's nothing to stop it from launching individual models for the North American and European markets as well, but we'd expect both the Q30 and QX30 to arrive in US showrooms at some point, sooner or later.