By on March 12, 2019

2017 Infiniti QX30 AWD - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

Western Europe doesn’t like Infiniti very much, so the Japanese premium brand has decided to hit the road. The brand’s residency in the competitive region only lasted a decade, and middling consumer interest, coupled with increasingly stringent emissions regulations, is all the reason it needs to take a hike.

In doing so, Nissan’s premium division plans to cease global production of the QX30 at its Sunderland, England assembly plant. The subcompact crossover, born of a rocky Mercedes-Benz partnership, and its overseas-only Q30 hatch sibling go belly-up in July of this year.

The QX30’s discontinuation was foretold.

At January’s Detroit Motor Show, Infiniti President Christian Meunier told Motor Authority, “(The QX30 is) not a very successful product. We’ll keep selling it for now…but this is not a product that has a future beyond its current life. It will be replaced in the future by an all-Infiniti platform.”

Suffice it to say that the partnership that spawned the QX30 and Mercedes-Benz GLA class didn’t really do it for Infiniti.

As for the Infiniti brand itself, customers in Western Europe and the UK continued to fine alternatives much more enticing. The brand, which launched there in 2008, will bow out completely by early 2020, the automaker said. In the wake of this decision, Infiniti will renew its efforts in more receptive markets like the U.S. and China, while maintaining operations in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

2017 Infiniti QX30

“Western Europe remains the most challenging and competitive region for premium cars,” Infiniti spokesman Trevor Hale told Reuters. The brand’s sales in the region sunk to 5,800 vehicles last year — roughly half of what it sold the year before.

In comparison, Infiniti sold 149,280 vehicles in the U.S. last year, only 8,101 of which were QX30s. That’s a 42.5 percent sales drop from 2017. The model first appeared in the U.S. in October of 2016.

Devoid of the plug-in hybrids and electrics European lawmakers and regulators like, Infiniti faced a future where it would need to invest heavily in green tech to stay in the region’s good books. It’s not worth the effort, the company claims.

“The commercial reality for Infiniti in western Europe is that there is simply no visibility of a viable and sustainable business, especially given the regulatory challenges,” Hale said.

[Images: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars, Infiniti]

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40 Comments on “Infiniti Calls It Quits in Western Europe, Kills Off the QX30 for Everyone Else...”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    This is a blessing, don’t need to buy as much eye bleach anymore. What a stupid segment. Small FWD minivans sold as “luxury” cars is evidence that a sucker is born every day.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Let the proles rejoice.

  • avatar
    carguy

    While I am no fan of the car, the discounts on the QX30 range make it an interesting proposition. A loaded Lux AWD model currently goes for around $31K (MSRP $38.5k). At that price is stacks up well even against non-luxury competitors.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Meh… take a look at the gently used/cpo prices of the Q50/Q60.

      THAT’S A BARGAIN.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Don’t those have a weird steering design or something to this effect?

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Some have the drive-by-wire electronic steering, which sucks – it’s like a driving simulator. Most have the standard setup, which won’t remind anyone of a Miata, but it’s adequate. The good news is that the electronic steering is usually found on the more expensive models, so if you stick to a more basic one, you get a better car for less money.

          Dan’s right – the Q50 is one hell of a nice car for the money, as long as you’re more in the mood for a cruiser than a sport sedan. The only real drawback was fuel economy – supposedly you get around 20 mpg around town, but given my driving habits and daily commute (tons of stop-and-go) it’d have been more like 17, and the 3.7 needs premium gas.

          Otherwise, I’m a fan.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          Through ’16 the Q40 and Q60 were just a G37 sedan/coupe with a Johanized name. Those were pretty conventional and basically dated back to 2007 (or 2003 if you prefer).

          The Q50 could have the wonky by-wire steering, but it was optional and I’m not sure what the take rate was.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          The much-criticized Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) system isn’t standard, and wouldn’t be found on most Q50 units. As of this writing (March 2019), you’ll need to opt for a 3.0t Sport RWD/AWD or a Red Sport 400 RWD/AWD, and then select the ProActive package in order to get DAS. The ProActive package also comes bundled with all of the available driving aids, but I don’t think most of the TTAC crowd would be too interested in all of that.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            The 3.0t Sport trim makes little sense to me anymore. It is a whopping $9,600 more than the basic 3.0t and is only $3,000 less than the RS400. With a lease the RS400 works out to be just $30 more a month.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            I’m fine with 3.0t AWD minus the other stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      You can get this thing with discount but … where you going to sit in it?

  • avatar
    jfk-usaf

    at least it didn’t have a Nissan CVT in it…

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I may not be a big fan of this kind of vehicle, but at least this one was interesting to look at.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I swear I once saw one in Rose Gold. Like an iPhone.

    Edit: Evidently, Infiniti called that color Liquid Copper, and it is no longer available.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    I don’t really understand why anyone would buy an Infiniti at this point. They seem to be even more lost in the wilderness than Acura. So you have a rebodied version of one of the worst in class vehicles in the GLA, and then Infiniti “improves” it by replacing the COMAND system with their trash infotainment setup. Yay?

    The Q50’s electronics are so bad they make the Lexus mouse system look like iDrive. Other than that the interior is “fine,” but not much better than a TLX. Certainly below the new Volvo, and anything else from Europe. On top of all that, it’s not even fun to drive anymore.

    The Q70 is so old it qualifies for Medicare. The QX50 is really the only remotely fresh product they have, and even that is middling at best. There’s absolutely no reason to buy one over an X3 other than maybe if the dealer is willing to throw a ton of cash on the hood, because it’s certainly not competitive otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Davekaybsc, a used Infiniti can be a fun RWD vehicle that draws less attention from law enforcement than a Mustang or Camaro. Nissan parts are tougher and less expensive to replace than BMW parts.

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      Acura never made it to Europe. Lexus is still trying to get luxury brand acceptance 30 years later.

      The Infiniti range was poorly marketed in the UK, I don’t recall ever seeing an advert for their vehicles, whereas nearly every ad break has an Audi, Nissan or Skoda advert.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    European consumers basically won’t consider any luxury car not made by a premium car makers without at least 50+ more years of history behind them. Why gamble on an unknown brand at a high sticker price when Europe has the most successful brands already?

    If Nissan is wants to make it in their s market globally it should just make Tata an offer for JLR, keep everything the same except for figuring out how to make exceptionally reliable cars. Japanese reputation for reliability plus British style would give them a huge winner in the market that Infinity just won’t deliver ever.

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      There was a point in the 1980s where Nissan tied up with Alfa Romeo

      Japanese reliability with Italian styling?

      No, they got the Italians to build a Nissan Cherry.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    Yeah, Tstag is right. Lexus is slowwwwllly making inroads in Europe. As for Infiniti? Very rare and also pricy.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Lexus is only slowly making inroads in Europe when it comes to FWD-based crossovers (basically NX and UX).

      Their RWD sedan lineup barely sells (in Germany, the Stinger outsells the IS, RC, GS, LS and LC put together).

      Doubt the ES is going to fare much better as the replacement for the GS, but may be able to scrounge up some business fleet sales due to lower CO2 emissions.

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    Just as is the case with Lexus, Infiniti products are poorly suited for most European markets. There is no consistent and logical product lineup. What I mean with that is a lack of different power plant options, body styles and in certain segments they are completely absent (where is their A8/S-Klasse/7er competitor for example?).

    And as somebody has mentioned, we like to stick with brands that mean something to us due to their heritage. To many consumers here, particularly in the premium segment, bnrand heritage equates to prestige and stirs emotions. Infiniti has no heritage so to speak. To us Europeans they ‘appeared out of the blue’ and we are supposed to take them seriously as an Audi, BMW usw. challenger. It won’t work. The same is true for Lexus. I recall that for both Infiniti and Lexus Russia and the UK appear to be their most ‘successful’ markets.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Infiniti makes good cars, but the brand prestige is absent and so is a competitive product lineup.

  • avatar

    It demonstrates that Europeans have a damn good taste unlike Americans who are ready to buy any kind of garbage if it is sold at discount.

    “Infiniti will renew its efforts in more receptive markets like the U.S. and China”

    Why Infiniti reminds me Cadillac so much? Cadillac was the real automaker established by Henry Ford and then taken over by investors. But Americans passion for discounts and bad taste killed it eventually. E.g. compare 80s Cadillac to Mercedes – it is not even funny, it is like GM lived in different Universe.

    Infiniti is a scheme invented by Nissan to fool Americans and Americans only, well also Chinese – both are “Great powers” with ambitions. But they could not fool others even fellow Japanese.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      “unlike Americans who are ready to buy any kind of garbage if it is sold at discount”

      How then you can stand it here, Ivan?

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The QX30 and GLA are less differentiated than a 90s Grand Prix and Olds Intrigue yet the Infiniti failed because it lacked the proper nativist badge on the nose.

        Infiniti also uses Mercedes’s thrashcan turbo-4 engines in their other models.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      The main thing the Europeans auto manufacturers don’t get is that Americans who can afford to buy or lease luxury cars have very little time away from work and can’t afford wasting their limited time off taking the car in for service. The whole premise of buying a Lexus is you’re buying a luxury car with the minimal maintenance and repair inconvenience of a Toyota. Infiniti has more difficulty selling that value because too many Nissans are sold to credit-challenged individuals who abuse and neglect them.

  • avatar

    1) Western Europe is a stale if not contracting market.
    2) The QX30 is hot garbage.

  • avatar
    PwrdbyM

    A draw to Infiniti over a euro rival for some consumers has to be the realibility aspect of a Japanese make. However with this one you’re getting a Merc underneath and likely Merc long term reliability. Throw in substandard styling, space, info tech, and driving dynamics and it just doesn’t make sense with the tough competitors in the segment.

    • 0 avatar
      ThomasSchiffer

      And those competitors you speak of are the Volvo XC40, Mercedes GLA, BMW X1/X2 and Audi Q2, which easily outsell this Infiniti.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      PwrdbyM, most cars are reliable today, at least for the early years, but cost in time and money to keep them reliable varies. The ideal would be a car that only requires drive-through fluid changes and occasional replacement of brake pads and tires at service locations outside of normal work hours. Drive in, maintenance gets done quickly, drive out. The worst is a car that requires dealer-only repairs during work hours, leaving the owner without his car to get to work.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    I know many people who were offended when Infiniti appeared on the rear wing of a Formula 1 car powered by Renault. Seemed like they were taking unearned credit.

  • avatar
    James Charles

    Infiniti is just the wrong name for conjuring up a sense of prestige.

    Maybe Nissan need to start a new prestige brand with a worthwhile name.

    Infiniti are just blinged Nissans. I think all prestige and luxury marques need their own platforms to set them apart from the riff raff lower offerings.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      In Japan, Infinitis are Nissans (when they aren’t rebadged Mitsus).

      But one can very well say that pretty much the entire Lexus lineup (save the LS and LC) are blinged Toyotas.

  • avatar
    scott25

    I’m calling this being a minor collectible for weirdos in the coming years in the same vein as the Acura ZDX

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