2011 Infiniti Etherea Concept
We were given a taste of Infiniti’s compact car plans with the unveiling of the Etherea back in 2011, a concept whose sloping roof, hatchback body and overall proportions are expected to be retained on the eventual production model.
However, Infiniti isn’t rushing the gestation process and is not predicting a launch of its new compact for at least another three to four years.
The information was revealed by Infiniti’s European marketing director, Jean-Pierre Diernaz, who spoke recently with Automotive News Europe (subscription required).
Diernaz explained that Infiniti’s new compact will arrive around 2016 and that it will be thoroughly modern, offering a combination of driving performance and style that he believes rival models currently lack.
Underpinning the new car will be a version of the ‘MFA’ front-wheel drive platform residing in the new Mercedes-Benz A Class and B Class models. The flexible platform is just one of the fruits afforded to Infiniti following Renault-Nissan and Daimler’s alliance deal in 2010. The Infiniti compact car is also expected to utilize several Mercedes-Benz engines.
This last area is crucial as Infiniti needs its compact car to be most successful in Europe as this is the region that is expected to account for the bulk of sales, and Mercedes' fuel-efficient diesel and gasoline engines should certainly help. Emphasizing the importance of the European market for its new compact, there’s also talk that it may even be produced in Europe--at a plant in Austria run by independent vehicle manufacturer Magna Steyr.