Infinity's Aggressive Plan to Capture More of the Premium Auto Market

Nissan Motor Co. will soon introduce a new top of the line halo nameplate for its Infiniti brand. The new model will supersede the Q70 sedan as the brand’s flagship model. Nissan will also grow its crossover lineup in the pursuit of higher market share, according to president Johan de Nysschen.

The goal, says Nysschen, is to capture 90 percent of the premium sales globally by the end of this decade. Nissan currently has about 60% of the premium market. He also says that Nissan has a new global sales target number: 600,000 units by 2020. Last year Nissan sold 170,000 units.

During a line off ceremony for the new Q50 sedan at the Infinity Tochigi plant, the Nissan president offered an idea of what the plans are for Infinity. “We will also in the future, introduce models above where the Q70 stops today; the Q70 being the former M. In our crossover range, we can imagine significant additions to that lineup as well.”

Nysschen predicts that expanding the lineup fully will take until the end of the decade. New models will include a new premium compact that will be manufactured beginning in 2015 at the Nissan Sunderland plant in the United Kingdom. There is also some speculation of a halo sports model inspired by the Infinity Essence or Emerg-E concept models, shown in 2009 and this year, respectively. If all goes well, says Nysschen, the 600,000 unit goal should be reachable in the next seven years.

Polishing the Infiniti image and building sales will only be possible through expansion of the lineup. The first step, according to Nysschen, is to make the brand more desirable. He says, “That is more important than just hitting the sales numbers.”

Infiniti’s profitability has been hindered in the past by the yen’s strength against the dollar and other foreign currencies due to export-dependent operations, but considering the current weakening of the yen, profits are expected to increase. Nysschen’s prediction is that by next year, Infiniti will be making “very useful profits” by 2014, and could even equal sister brand Nissan’s in that time in terms of percentage return on sales.


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