New Infiniti Q30 debuts at the UK motor industry media gathering


INFINITI Q30 Infiniti, the premium brand from Nissan, gave their all-new UK built Infiniti Q30 C-segment five door hatchback its global debut as the Frankfurt Motor Show last month

and this was followed up by them displaying two pre-production cars at the industry’s media gathering held last week.

The Q30 will become the first Infiniti ever to be built in Europe. It is not just being built in the UK, it was created at their Nissan-Infiniti Paddington design facility, engineered at their Cranfield department and will start in production at Nissan’s Sunderland Plant in December. Cars will be in UK showrooms in January although ordering by customers has already started.

The additional Q30 production facilities at the Sunderland Plant, already home to the Nissan Juke, Qashqai and Leaf models, is a result of a £250 million investment and over 300 new jobs have been created to support the production of the new Q30 and the future QX30 Crossover ranges for global markets.

The Q30 is a premium brand C-segment (lower medium sector) five door hatchback and will compete against the Audi A3, BMW 1-Series, Mercedes A-Class, Volvo V40 and Lexus CT. The Q30 and the future QX30 Crossover ranges are vital for the global sales expansion of the Infiniti brand. In the UK it should at least double Infiniti sales next year, but that is no large figure because as well as being a premium brand, Infiniti is currently a niche one as well.

Last year just 746 new Infiniti cars/SUVs were sold here but this year that total has already been beaten. The new Q30/QX30 will allow the brand to compete in the UK’s second largest sales segment to retail, fleet and business user-chooser customers.

The Q30 is a product of the Renault-Nissan Alliance and includes its latest partner Daimler. The new Q30/QX30 models use the latest Mercedes A-Class platform plus a 2.2-litre diesel Mercedes engine. The 1.5-litre diesel and DIG 1.6-litre/2.0-litre petrol engines are used by current Renault and Nissan models.

The components of Q30/QX30 might come from a variety of sources but the design is all Infiniti as are the design and performance of the suspension, steering and the comfort of seats. The five door Q30 has the coupe side profile with deeply sculptured door panels and bulbous wheelarches of other larger Infiniti models. There is also a hint of crossover styling with the Q30 before the proper QX30 comes along later next year.

INFINITI Q30 INFINITI Q30 Inside it is the same premium brand story from larger Infiniti models scaled down to the new compact ranges. Although classed as a C-segment hatchback it looks longer than the competition but has a length of 4,425mm. The extended wheelbase of 2,700mm gives really good rear seat space an there is a roomy boot capacity of 368-litres. The layout, quality of the fascia and generally the whole interior looks impressive. Only time will tell once we get to drive the new models early next year whether Infiniti will go beyond its current limited niche appeal.

Certainly the starter prices look attractive with the Q30 1.6-litre petrol being priced at £19,780 and the 1.5-litre diesel from just over £20,000. With the Q30 hatchback there will be three levels of equipment, the base version followed by Premium and Sport. There will also be the choice of two and four wheel drive models, the latter only available with the 2.2-litre 170hp diesel engine.

Crux of the matter of increasing to increasing sales in the UK with the new Q30 and other models will be the expansion of the Infiniti dealer network. The brand has been too slow to grow in terms of sales/service outlets with currently only 10 centres throughout the UK. This will grow to between 25 and 30 centres in the near future but that will not encourage business users and company cars drivers to consider a model where servicing outlets are few and far between. Infiniti did hint however that they were looking at the feasibility of using the service facilities of Nissan and Daimler dealerships as well as their own to support the extra UK sales the Q30 will generate. Miles Better News Agency 

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