Japanese luxury brand gears up for European launch
6 March 2007

Japanese luxury brand wannabe Infiniti might not be at the Geneva motor show, but it’s gearing up for its European launch nonetheless.

Nissan’s sportier equivalent of Lexus will launch in the UK with a four-model line-up, all available from autumn 2008.

The range will include the BMW 3-series challenging G35 saloon and coupe, a new X3-sized 4x4 and the company’s flagship, the FX45, a dramatically styled coupe-look 4x4.

“Our distinguishing points will be really strong styling, a range of high-output engines and sporty handling, which makes Infiniti more like BMW than comparable Lexus models,” said Brian Carolin, Infiniti’s most senior executive in Europe, who is at the Swiss motor show.

Crucially for Infiniti’s success in Europe, a high-output, sub-3.0-litre V6 diesel with between 200 and 250bhp will also feature from autumn 2009.

As Toyota did with Lexus, Nissan will establish a separate Infiniti dealer network in the UK, to be run by one of the country’s biggest dealer groups.

Infiniti’s entire European model range will be replacements for models already on sale in the US and some European countries, such as Russia. Infiniti says each one will be engineered for European tastes in chassis and style.

“We know how important that is to success in Europe,” said Carolin. “The cabin quality needed for success in the US is lower than that in Europe and the new generation of Infinitis will have European levels of quality.”

The first of the new generation Infinitis will be a soft-roader, due to be revealed at next month’s New York auto show.

Julian Rendell

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