At the long-awaited launch for the four Infiniti models that Nissan’s premium sub-brand intends to sell in the UK, straight-talking MD Jim Wright dryly observed that he “could have chosen a better week” for his important event.
The truth is he probably couldn’t have done; the whole thing is a result of several years of careful planning, and these dates were set in stone many months ago. But the comment carries an inference that occurs to most people in a market like this: can Infiniti make it? We’ve already seen Lexus take well over a decade to secure a decent foothold in Europe. Yet I’ve a feeling Infiniti will make it and I’ve got three reasons.
First, Infiniti is not starting from scratch. The products are mature and are mostly in their second generation. There’s already a thriving 150,000-a-year business in the USA. The cars have well-proven levels of quality and reliability.
Second, the whole thing is based on offering unprecedented levels of customer service, the one advantage (besides irresistible styling) which can reliably get under a buyer’s guard.
Finally – and most importantly - the targets are realistic. A marque that has gone from zero to 10,000 sales in Russia in only two years, is predicting 25,000 sales in Western Europe in five years. That looks prudent and conservative.