Luxury automaker Infiniti yesterday said it would manufacture cars in China for the first time starting in 2014, joining a rush by global automakers to expand production in the world’s biggest auto market even as sales growth fades.
Infiniti, owned by Nissan Motor Co, said two of its models would be produced in factories run by Nissan and its Chinese joint-venture partner. It will be Infiniti’s first production outside Japan.
“For the brand to reach its aggressive sales target of 500,000 units by 2016, local production in the world’s largest automobile market is not an option but a necessity to our success,” Andy Palmer, executive vice president of the Global Infiniti & Luxury Business Unit, said in a statement.
Growth in China’s vehicle sales plunged from an eye-popping 35 percent in 2010 to just 2.5 percent last year as the economy slowed. That is forecast to rebound to about 5 percent this year — stronger than the US or Europe, but a challenge for automakers that added new assembly lines during the boom, leading to a glut of supplies.
Also this week, Ford Motor Co said it would build a US$760 million auto assembly plant in Hangzhou, part of plans to double its China capacity to 1.2 million vehicles a year.