Infiniti has given the media further details of its planned launch into the Australian market towards the end of the year. Here for the Australian GP, Simon Sproule, Corporate Vice President of the Nissan Motor Company, outlined some of those plans.
Infiniti plans to become another player in the luxury car game in Australia. Its mix of sedans and SUVs is aimed at giving drivers European style and luxury with Japanese reliability. Despite its large presence in the American market, Infiniti is, after all, a Japanese car brand.
Part of the plan is aggressive expansion into world markets, of which Australia will become integral. “Nissan Motor Company has a six-year business plan to begin with for luxury cars. We want to have a 10 per cent share of the luxury car market,” exclaims Sproule. “It’s going to take a lot of work but we believe it’s an achievable goal and that we have the product to do it.”
But with the luxury car buyer already well catered for, why would you buy a brand that’s new to the market? Sproule believes it has a lot to do with service and the offerings that come with the product.
“There is no base Infiniti ,” he says. “When you buy an Infiniti you will be getting most of the luxuries you have to add as options with other brands. We will start above Lexus, Audi and BMW by offering more.
“It also has a lot to do with service. I don’t think the luxury car market is getting the kind of service it deserves. Infiniti will have fewer dealers but they will be more focused on serving each customer’s specific needs. We will not be aggressively trying to sell them an Infiniti . We want them to understand the brand, get to know it and get a feel for the culture of Infiniti . Hopefully that will make them keener on purchasing one of our vehicles.”
But with fewer dealerships, the level of service Infiniti is looking to achieve may be hard to come by. Sproule maintains that strategic positioning of dealerships will mean that the reach of the dealer will, in fact, be quite close to that of other well established luxury brands but he concedes that Infiniti will only be looking to start with one to two dealers in each major city.
“At the end of the day we are aiming to sell hundreds, not thousands of cars in our first year,” Sproule states. “Our infrastructure is well equipped to deal with that. Hopefully when people realise the kind of service we will deliver, they will be more inclined to buy our cars. It’s the little things like picking up and dropping off your car before and after service, and giving you a car to use in the meantime.”
So what is an Infiniti really like? During the Australian GP, Infiniti displayed some of its right-hand drive models. Fitting, as it is a sponsor of world-champions Red Bull Racing. The display included the Infiniti G and M.
Straight away they seem to have very American styling. They are cars that look bigger than they are. The interiors are spacious and the fittings well done. Like Sproule said, equipment levels are impressive. At the end of the day though, it’s not as European as you would think in terms of styling. That may work to Infiniti’s advantage as its a point of difference, but it will be interesting to find out the end results.
Infiniti looks like it will be a luxury brand for the upwardly mobile. Those who want something different but still want some kind of prestige brand. With cars like the Sebastian Vettel tuned Infiniti FX, it’s already possible to see where they are heading with the brand.
EFTM travelled to the Australian GP as a guest of Infiniti.
Damian Francis has previously edited Australian T3 and F1 Racing magazine and wrote for GQ Australia and Men’s Health. Unlike Nick and Trev, he has no kids, no mortgage and no wife, but lives happily on Sydney’s North Shore with his girlfriend.