2011 Infiniti Etherea Concept
Following yesterday’s announcement of the groundbreaking of a new powertrain plant
in Tennessee, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz have today confirmed that a new compact car to be launched by Infiniti but underpinned by Mercedes technology will be manufactured in Austria by independent vehicle manufacturer Magna Steyr.
Production of the new vehicle, which will be targeted mostly at customers in Europe, will commence in 2014.
It will compete in the burgeoning compact luxury segment, currently dominated by the likes of the Audi A3, BMW 1-Series, Mercedes-Benz A and B Class, and to a lesser extent the Lexus CT 200h.
We were first given a taste of Infiniti’s compact car plans with the unveiling of the Etherea back in 2011
, a concept whose sloping roof, hatchback body and overall proportions are expected to be retained on the eventual production model.
According to previous comments
from Infiniti’s European marketing director, Jean-Pierre Diernaz, the new vehicle will be thoroughly modern, offering a combination of driving performance and style that he believes rival models currently lack.
Underpinning the car will be a version of the ‘MFA’ front-wheel drive platform residing in the latest versions of the Mercedes-Benz A Class
and B Class
models. The flexible platform is just one of the fruits afforded to Infiniti following Renault-Nissan and Daimler’s alliance deal in 2010
. The Infiniti compact car is also expected to utilize several Mercedes-Benz engines.
This last area is crucial since the key market for Infiniti’s new compact car will be Europe, where Mercedes' fuel-efficient diesel and gasoline engines should prove an advantage. Infiniti is yet to reveal if the car will be offered in the U.S.