The Infiniti Q30 will make its world premiere at this year’s Frankfurt motor show, before going on sale before the end of 2015.
The new Volkswagen Golf rival was first revealed in concept form at the 2013 Frankfurt show and, along with its QX30 crossover sibling, will be manufactured at the Nissan/Infiniti factory in Sunderland.
Infiniti has started the recruitment process for 300 new employees to build both models.
The all-new Q30 hatchback will be the brand's first model to be built in Europe. The jobs are part of an expansion of the plant, brought about partly as a result of a £250m investment in the UK. The factory has a new body shop, and a larger trim and chassis assembly line thanks to the money so far spent.
The 300 new positions will take the Sunderland workforce to just below 6800 in total. Infiniti had previously announced it would be recruiting 180 new employees when it first committed to building the Q30 in Sunderland in 2012.
Colin Lawther, senior vice president for manufacturing, purchasing and supply chain management in Europe, said: “Infiniti production heralds the beginning of a new era for our operations in the UK, and the demands of premium vehicle manufacturing requires significant additions to the team.”
Later in the model’s life cycle, a high-performance version is expected to arrive to top off the range, extending the line-up to three models by around 2016/2017.
Details of the Q30's powertrain are scarce but one possibility is to use a high-output version of Infiniti’s new 208bhp, direct-injection, single-turbo, 2.2-litre four-cylinder engine, just launched in the Q50 saloon. Performance versions of rival engines are producing around 300bhp from a similar capacity.
The rapid Q30 — which could also feature the Eau Rouge name used on the performance Q50 — is expected to sit on a lowered chassis that will drop the high-riding Q30 hatch closer to the road to improve handling.
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