2011 Infiniti Etherea Concept

2011 Infiniti Etherea Concept

Following this month’s earlier report that Lexus was looking at building more cars in North America, a top Infiniti exec has now revealed that the rival Japanese premium auto brand is also looking at moving more production outside Japan.

The reason once again is the strengthening yen, which has prompted Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn on several occasions to speak out about the disastrous affects it’s having on companies manufacturing in Japan.

Now executive vice president of Infiniti Andy Palmer has revealed to Automotive News (subscription required) that in addition to the recently revealed 2013 JX, which will be built at Nissan’s plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, several other Infinitis will be built outside Japan.

One of these will be the production version of the 2011 Infiniti Etherea Concept, a new entry-level model for Infiniti that may pick up a “DX” designation. Palmer says that this model is likely to be built somewhere in Europe, which isn’t much of a surprise considering that it will likely be based on a Mercedes-Benz platform.

China is another area Infiniti is looking at building cars in. You may recall that the upmarket Nissan division recently established a new global headquarters in Hong Kong.

"Clearly, we're working on one strategy," Palmer explained. "As cars come up for renewal, generally they're being relocated in a function of where the majority of sales are."

Moving production outside of Japan isn’t the only strategy Infiniti has for combating a strong yen. For future models still built in Japan, Infiniti will increase the use of components sourced from outside the country from the current level of about 15 percent to as much as 65 percent eventually.