Infiniti Restarts Plant Construction in China, Production Starts in 2015

Infiniti has resumed construction of an assembly plant in northeastern China that had been delayed by tensions between Japan and China in 2012. Located in the city of Dalian, in Liaoning province, the plant will be completed in 12 to 14 months and will have an initial annual production capacity of at least 100,000 vehicles.

“We had to slow the project down due to the Sino-Japan relationship. We have restarted the project,” Lu Feng, head of the legal and securities affairs department at Nissan’s Chinese manufacturing partner Dongfeng Motor Group told Bloomberg.

Sales of Japanese-branded cars slumped in China as the Chinese imposed a consumer boycott on Japanese goods in 2012 after tensions escalated between the two nations because of a dispute on a group of islands.

Nissan’s luxury brand is preparing to start manufacturing in China to benefit from increasing demand for premium vehicles in the world’s largest car market. Later this year, Infiniti will start building the long-wheelbase versions of the Q50 sedan and QX50 crossover (previously known as the EX) at Nissan’s Xiangyang plant in central China. The upcoming Q30 compact car could be the third Infiniti model built in China.

During the Sino-Japanese tensions in 2012, Infiniti delayed plans for the Dalian factory and retooled a production line at the Xiangyang plant. If the Xiangyang factory runs out of capacity, the carmaker will shift production to Dalian.

For the fiscal year ending in March 2015, Infiniti targets a 10 percent rise in sales to a record 200,000 units. Sales in China are projected to increase at least 75 percent to more than 30,000 units.

By Dan Mihalascu

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