Infiniti will add three new smaller models to its range over the next three years, including an Audi A3 rival, an entry-level SUV and an electric hatch based on the Nissan Leaf.
The A3 rival will become the firm’s volume seller in Europe. It will be spun off the next front-drive Mercedes A-class platform as part of the recent tie-up between Renault/Nissan and Daimler. This platform could also spawn the small SUV, according to well-placed Infiniti sources.
The Nissan Leaf-based electric hatchback will be confirmed “in the very near future”, according to another source. Nissan is keen to have an electric Infiniti based on the Leaf in order to see more of a return on its hefty investment in developing the Leaf’s platform and battery technology. Infiniti’s Leaf will be almost identical to its parent firm’s car, asides from exterior and interior styling changes.
More immediate benefits to Infiniti in the Daimler tie-up could also be in the offing, according to sources. Infiniti engineers are currently looking into the possibilty of models using Mercedes sourced four cylinder diesel and petrol engines.
Currently the company only offers V8 and V6 petrol power, with a new V6 diesel coming onstream in the middle of the year. However four-cylinder power is by far the most popular option in both Europe and China and company officials believe that Infiniti’s growth potential could be a lot rosier by using Mercedes engines.
Insiders reckon that the first all-new model to get the Mercedes engines is likely to be the next generation G family of saloons and coupes, although there is a possibility that engineers could rush through a four-cylinder diesel option in the current EX SUV.
Other Nissan sources say that everything is being considered for Infiniti, including an upmarket, rear-engined city car based on the next Smart and baby Renault.