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Magna to build new Infiniti model

Magna Steyr to be responsible for production of compact car, scheduled to begin in 2014

Published: May 12, 2012, 1:00 PM

Infiniti Eherea Concept - rear

Nissan says its Infiniti brand has signed a memorandum of understanding with Magna Steyr, a subsidiary of Canadian-based Magna International, for the complete assembly of an "entry-level" Infiniti compact vehicle.

Production of the new vehicle is scheduled to start in 2014.

"This new vehicle represents a significant opportunity for the Infiniti brand to reach new consumers and grow in key markets such as Western Europe," said Andy Palmer, Nissan's executive vice president responsible for Infiniti.

More specifically, the new little Infiniti is expected to be a direct competitor for the BMW X1 in the European market.

Speculation in Europe suggests that it might look a lot like the Infiniti Etherea concept car that made an appearance at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto in February 2012.

A front-wheel drive compact five-door hatchback, with a gasoline-hybrid powertrain, it could fit the brief very well.

Günther Apfalter, president of Magna Europe and Magna Steyr, expressed delight at signing this first vehicle assembly agreement with Infiniti. "It is an important milestone to further diversify Magna Steyr’s customer portfolio as a supplier of engineering services and complete vehicle assembly, he said."

The companies are said to be finalizing details of the manufacturing and supply agreements. No further details are being released at this time, including the production site and whether there is any possibility of the new vehicle being exported to North America.

Magna Steyr, based in Graz, Austria, is a leading engineering and manufacturing partner for a number of automakers. As a contract vehicle manufacturer, the company says it has built about 2.5 million vehicles in 21 models.

Some of those vehicles include the: Aston Martin Rapide; MINI Countryman; Mercedes-Benz E-Class, G-Class, M-Class and SLS AMG; Chrysler 300C; Jeep Grand Cherokee; and many others.