No doubt Infiniti’s artful sponsorship link with Red Bull Racing has been one of the marketing masterstrokes of the decade.
Without the stress and expense of setting up its own team, Infiniti has embroidered its name into the fabric of an F1 team that thrashes Ferrari and McLaren as a matter of course. There’s even an Infiniti model designation - Q100 - painted on the F1 car’s rear spoiler.
The benefits are already being enjoyed. Nissan’s luxury brand reckons awareness has grown hugely since the name and logo appeared on Seb Vettel’s and Mark Webber’s winning cars.
Measured in terms of TV exposure, Infiniti has notched-up $220m worth in the first year, $339m last year and $511m this year, even though only nine races out of the 19-strong season have been completed.
Global awareness is, of course, only part of the plan. The long-term corporate goal focuses on 2020 - seven years away or about a single model cycle in car industry terms - when the hope is to have carved out between eight and ten per cent of the global ‘premium’ car market. That’s a considerable increase over today’s 2.8 per cent.
Eventually Infiniti is eyeing about 400-500k sales a year, around a third or a quarter of what Audi, BMW and Merc are likely to record by then.