The place was packed, but the main man wasn't there.
This was the opening of Infiniti's latest and greatest UK dealership, a multi-million-pound white-tiled automotive Taj Mahal on a hillside overlooking the M60 near Stockport, but group supremo Carlos Ghosn, the man whose announcement last May that Infiniti needed to be 20 times bigger across Europe in five year's time – and thus put it there – was busy in another part of the Nissan-Infiniti-Renault empire.
Still, it went with a swing. Local celebrities packed in and Infiniti's new European chief, Bernard Loire, made his entrance to open the place and summarise Infiniti's remarkably aggressive targets – that Infiniti intended to take 10 per cent of the European luxury market by 2016, which will mean selling 500,000 cars in total by 2016, 100,000 of them in Europe and 20,000 of them in the UK. To succeed in Britain, the company will have to go from fewer than 1000 sales in 2010 to 20 times that number, six years later. As Loire, who has been in the job six weeks, it is an enormous task, requiring the appointment of 40 dealers in this country and 250 across Europe.