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Infiniti to build upmarket hatch in Britain - News

THE new Etherea premium hatchback from Nissan’s luxury brand Infiniti is to be built in the UK from 2015.

In what will be a £250 million boost for the Japanese company’s Sunderland plant, the move is expected to secure a further 1,000 jobs nationwide.

Around 280 of the new posts will be at the factory, which has the capacity to produce 60,000 Infiniti models per year.

In fact when production begins, Infiniti will become the first new car brand to be manufactured in the UK on this scale in 23 years.

The announcement coincides with news that this year, Sunderland will produce more than half a million cars for the first time - the first UK manufacturer to achieve this milestone.

During 2012, employment on site passed 6,000 for the first time and global exports from the plant now exceed five million units.

But because of capacity limitations, securing the new Etherea – expected to retail at about £20,000 - will mean that a compact hatchback previously announced for the plant in April will be manufactured elsewhere.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Sunderland will be the only place in the world to make this new premium compact car. Nissan in the UK goes from strength to strength – not only will the new car be made here and exported all over the world, the UK has already contributed to its design and development.

“Today’s news is a strong endorsement of the quality of Britain’s car industry, which is creating jobs, taking on apprentices and contributing to building a stronger economy.

“The auto sector is living up to being one of the great success stories of our industrial strategy and a testimony to government and private sector working together in close partnership.”

And Prime Minister David Cameron added: “This investment is excellent news for the North East and another vote of confidence for UK manufacturing.

"The continued success of Nissan in the UK demonstrates the strength of the car industry here, and its importance, as we rebalance and grow the economy.

“This announcement shows how the car industry in partnership with the Government continues to win important long term investment projects, in a tough competitive sector; helping the UK to get ahead in the global race.”

Author: Mike Torpey
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