Infiniti to build A3 rival in Sunderland

* New premium compact model built from 2015 * 250 million invested in Sunderland plant * 1000 UK jobs as a result...

Infiniti to build A3 rival in Sunderland

Infiniti has announced it is to start building cars at Nissan's Sunderland factory from 2015. The company will invest 250 million and create 1000 jobs.

The first Infiniti to be built there will be a new premium compact model to rival the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series.

Its styling will be based on Infiniti's Etherea concept car and, thanks to a technology-sharing agreement between the two brands, it'll use the same engines and underpinnings as the latest Mercedes A-Class.

Nissan executive vice-president and chief performance officer Colin Dodge said it will be the 'first premium product to be manufactured at Sunderland'.

He continued: 'The new Infiniti is being developed with help from our London design centre and our European technical centre at Cranfield.'

New Infiniti Audi A3 rival is expected to take styling cues from the Etherea concept car

It's thought 60,000 Infiniti models could be produced in Sunderland annually, making it the first new car brand to be manufactured in the UK on this scale in 23 years.

Plans to build a Nissan Golf rival on the same production line have been shelved. The new model is still due in 2014, but will now be built at a different, as yet unspecified, location.

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By Rory White