Despite announcing that it will pull out of the UK and Western European markets, Infiniti has confirmed that it will remain a fixture in Australia. However its withdrawal does come at a cost, with the brand set to lose two of its most affordable models.
Nissan’s luxury sub-brand announced it will leave Western Europe by mid-2020 as part of a restructuring plan that will focus on its largest growth markets: specifically North America and China.
It added the restructuring plan “will have no impact on Infiniti’s ongoing operations in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia, which continue to grow”.
An Infiniti Australia spokesman told WhichCar that Australia is part of the company’s Asian operations and remains in the company’s global plans.
However, the restructuring plan will have some impact on Australia, with the decision to cease production of the UK-built Q30 hatch and QX30 crossover by mid-2019 depriving the company of its two most affordable products.
Built on architecture borrowed from the previous-generation Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, the Q30 and QX30 accounted for about a quarter of Infiniti’s 649 sales in Australia in 2018. That said, with the impending arrival of the bigger and entirely Infiniti-developed QX50 later this year, Infiniti Australia may be able to maintain sales volume through substitution.
Expected to be the brand’s most commercially-important model, the QX50 will battle the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Volvo XC60 - as well as debut the company's innovative variable-compression turbo petrol engine.
That engine is a world-first, with Infiniti's variable compression technology able to combine the power of a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with turbo-diesel-like torque and efficiency to optimise both power and efficiency, without having to compromise on either.
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Local QX50 pricing is yet to be revealed but expect it to start around $68,000. This means Q30 and QX30’s departure will likely make the Q50 sports sedan the gateway model to the Infiniti range here, whose $54,900 starting price is $10,000 more than the base Q30 2.0t Pure.