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Magna Steyr to build Infiniti compact

Steyr it up: The forthcoming Infiniti small car to be assembled by Magna Steyr is said to be inspired by the 2011 Etherea concept.

Nissan signs memorandum of understanding with Magna Steyr to build small Infiniti

11 May 2012

NISSAN has announced that the forthcoming premium small car from its Infiniti luxury brand will be built by Austrian contract manufacturer Magna Steyr from 2014.

The memorandum of understanding between the two companies comes after Magna Steyr received an engineering assignment on the vehicle, which is reportedly still under development by the company.

Nissan executive vice-president Andy Palmer said the forthcoming small car “represents a significant opportunity for the Infiniti brand to reach new consumers and grow in key markets such as Western Europe”.

The unnamed vehicle will form a major plank in Infiniti’s quest to extend its operations to more than 70 countries worldwide and triple its sales to 500,000 annually by 2016.

While not officially confirmed, the car is slated to appear in Australian Infiniti showrooms in 2015, possibly alongside a new sportscar and an all-electric vehicle.

It will be based on Mercedes-Benz’s all-new MFA modular platform, which also underpins a range of current and future small Benz models like the B-Class, A-Class and CLA.

The production model will give Infiniti a rival to cars like the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3, with styling expected to take cues from the Etherea concept car that debuted at the 2011 Geneva motor show.

The car could also share engines with Mercedes, including the new turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol and 1.8-litre diesel from the B-Class launched here last month.

As we reported yesterday, Infiniti will use Mercedes four-cylinder engines for its 2013 G Series sedan range, as part of a wide-ranging collaboration between Renault-Nissan and Daimler-Benz.

The two conglomerates launched their strategic collaboration in April 2010, with each purchasing a 3.1 per cent stake in the other, with joint projects including the Mercedes Citan small van and new architecture for Renault and Smart micro cars.

Magna Steyr, a subsidiary of Canadian automotive supplier Magna International, is one of the world’s largest engineering and manufacturing partners for car-makers.

The company assembles a wide range of vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Mini Countryman, Peugeot RCZ coupe and Aston Martin Rapide at its assembly operation in Graz, Austria.

Infiniti will launch in Australia with a line-up comprised of the FX medium SUV and M Sedan range in August, with the current G Series coupe and cabrio to follow four months later.

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