But while rivals are looking at Mexico mainly for its low production costs and free trade agreements with the lucrative U.S. market, de Nysschen sees Mexico as a good base for building cars for a global market.
“We have to consider our aspirations for further growth in Europe as well as South America,” de Nysschen explained to Automotive News (subscription required). “If we export vehicles from here [U.S.] to Europe, it attracts import duties. If you export vehicles from Mexico, it does not. This has to be taken into account when we consider where to build the next plant.”
The comments echo a previous statement made by Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn who said that both North America and China were under consideration for new Infiniti manufacturing bases. Infiniti confirmed it would start production in China just a few weeks later.
Currently, all Infiniti models apart from the JX crossover are produced in Japan, where a strong yen is cutting profitability for most automakers that build cars there. During his interview de Nysschen never mentioned which model Infiniti would like to produce in Mexico.
Infiniti’s parent company Nissan is about to start construction of a new plant in Mexico, next to an existing one, and it’s possible some capacity of the new plant may be utilized by Infiniti. Nissan also started construction of a new plant together with alliance partner Daimler in Decherd, Tennessee, recently, which will produce a new four-cylinder engine that will power future Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti models.
Other luxury automakers considering moving production closer to where a bulk of their sales are made include Lexus and Volvo.