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Infiniti to leave Europe?

Infiniti sold about 6,000 cars in Europe in 2018.

Nissan could pull its Infiniti division out of the European market after years of disastrous sales.

French website AutoActu reports Infiniti's European division peaked at 13,775 annual sales in 2015, right before it embarked on a free-fall. It sold approximately 6,000 cars in Europe in 2018. The Q30 and QX30, a pair of Mercedes-Benz-based models developed largely for the European market, haven't lived up to expectations.

Executives believed the two cars would find up to 40,000 buyers annually; they haven't. In 2018, European sales of the two models amounted to about 3,000 units.

Infiniti conceded they're not doing great in the United States, either, but the rest of the range picks up the slack. In Europe, the firm's sedans and crossovers have always had a difficult time luring motorists out of German and Swedish cars. Infiniti consequently axed the Q60, the Q70, and the QX70 from its European line-up in September 2018, according to AutoActu. It also removed several options from its palette of engines, including the Renault-sourced 1.5-liter turbodiesel.

The publication points out the sky-high cost of WLTP compliance in Europe and the possibility of a no-deal Brexit may be the final two nails in Infiniti of Europe's coffin. It's difficult to justify spending money on making low-volume models compliant, and Nissan builds the European-spec Q30/QX30 in its Sunderland, UK, factory.

Lexus, on the other hand, sees a brighter future across the pond. It hopes new models like the UX will give its European division a significant boost and allow it to cross the 100,000-car threshold by 2020. Achieving this goal requires increasing annual sales by 25 percent. Acura has never manifested an interest in the European market.

Infiniti hasn't commented on what the future holds for its European division. It's doing much better elsewhere. Its sales went up by 7 percent in 2018. America remains its largest market by a long shot, followed by China in a distant second.

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