Nissan’s premium brand hits dealer trouble: four model line-up confirmed
26 November 2007

Infiniti will not be launched in the UK until 2009 due to setbacks in establishing a dealer network. Although no hard date had been set for the brand’s introduction, original estimates put the launch date at the end of next year.Problems with finding a partner in the UK to oversee the creation of a dealer network have led to the delay. The quality of the dealer experience is an important part of Infiniti’s plan to woo buyers from established premium brands such as Mercedes and Audi, as Lexus has done, and it does not want to risk making any mistakes.Infiniti is now talking to what it describes as various “regional expert groups” – dealers with experience of handling premium brands, who could handle setting up the company in different parts of the UK. The company’s original strategy involved finding one partner to deal with the whole country.

A finite number of models

The brand will launch four cars when it finally sets up shop in the UK – the G35 saloon and G37 coupe, the EX35 SUV and the new FX SUV. The last car in that list will be launched at the 2008 Geneva motor show.The FX, described by an Infiniti Europe source as “quick”, has been performance benchmarked against the BMW X5 4.8. It uses aluminium in its construction to cut weight, so should have a performance and economy advantage over the BMW, and will be available with V6 and V8 engines with a diesel coming in 2010. Its looks are said to be more unusual than the current model, and have been described as “polarising” by people who have seen the car.

The most exclusive Japanese car brand

If Infiniti’s plan works, its cars will offer a genuinely exclusive alternative to BMW and Mercedes models because it’s not planning to sell huge numbers. “We don’t have to sell thousands,” said Infiniti’s European PR chief Wayne Bruce. “Carlos Ghosn hasn’t set us any targets - we don’t have a sales objective at all. But it’s important to launch properly, and Mr Ghosn hasn’t given us 15 years to get established like Lexus did.”Smaller numbers mean Infiniti will be able to offer a very personalised dealer experience, something Lexus has used to great effect to take sales from rivals. “You can’t offer really great service with thousands of cars to deal with,” said Bruce.Dealers will be called Infiniti Centres. Decked out in lavish cut and smoked glass and chrome, they will be the same as the buildings already open in Russia and China. The wood used in the Centres is the same as the wood in the cars, and the designs of their interiors are signed off by the same man who signs off the cars’ exterior design.

Dan Stevens

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Comments
6

26 November 2007

It's a fair point - who'd want to pay all that money to the dealer and have to sit next to the pissy smelling old folks who buy Almera's and Micra's?

Rolls eyes - sharp intake of breath.....!!

27 November 2007

It's a pity this delay is happening. From my travels in Europe I have seen plenty of the Infiniti Brand out and about and they look very good indeed, but Mr. S. Plum, you may have point with your tongue in cheek comment.

Lexus had to launch without the help (so it seemed) of Toyota, therefore creating this mistique of Autonomy from the parent company. Any shop front association with Nissan will undoubtedly damage the brand form the outset.

27 November 2007

I think what I said, while a bit rude, is right on the money.

The demographic they are after is just sooooooo different - they need that space to breath and develop into a premium brand.

Good luck to them - the Hun need a bit of competition - they don't like it up em you know.

27 November 2007

Yes very true about the nissan image. Though i think the Navara, X-trail and pathfinder have all done a decent job of splitting the Nissan customer base in a new area.

Giving them their own showroom would be a sound start for them.

28 November 2007

I can't understand Nissan's position as a main stream producer. It has constantly been seen to move away from saloon cars to 4x4's to the point where they have a range of 9 cars, 7 are 4x4's, 1 is the micra and 1 is the 350Z. No rivals to the Focus class, 3 series class, Mondeo class or the class' above that.

No wonder my local Renault/Nissan dealer has just become a Renault dealer.

I cannot think of another mainstream manufacturer with a range of vehicles that does not seem to compete with other mainstream brands!

12 November 2010

In an attempt to raise the standard of overall customer satisfaction, Nissan Motor Corporation created the Infiniti luxury brand of vehicles. Infiniti is the luxury vehicle brand for Nissan, as Acura is for Honda, and Lexus is for Toyota. And just like their Japanese counterparts, Infiniti parts are also re badged and slightly modified versions of Nissans high end vehicles.

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