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Infiniti Tries To Find Its Way To Japan


2014 Infiniti Q50

2014 Infiniti Q50

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Luxury brand Infiniti is doing all it can to have a global presence. Well-established in the United States, Infiniti also has a relatively strong customer base in Europe and China. Brazil and Mexico now have Infiniti dealerships in-country, too, thanks to a growing middle class population.

Oddly absent from the list of selling countries is Infiniti’s home market, Japan. While Infiniti products are available with Nissan badges (or even wearing Mitsubishi logos), Automotive News (subscription required) points out that the Infiniti marque is unknown in its own country.

Infiniti brand head Johan de Nysschen wants to change that, but the solution isn’t as simple as setting up a new dealer network. Since some of its products (like the old M sedan) are sold under other brands, one solution would be to sell only unique products under the Infiniti name.

That would greatly limit the brand’s appeal, making it difficult to sign on dealerships. Alternatively, Infiniti could pull its rebadged cars back under its own brand, but that would take away two key sedans from Nissan dealers, and could potentially jeopardize Nissan’s relationship with Mitsubishi.

The third option would be to let Nissan dealers also sell the Infiniti range, but that goes counter to de Nysschen’s strategic repositioning of Infiniti as a stand-alone brand. Since there is no right answer to the problem, the solution becomes of matter of choosing the one with the least consequences.

This much is clear: in order to get to its stated goal of 500,000 annual sales by 2017, Infiniti needs to add new markets, and add them quickly. New products for key segments will help, too, and Infiniti is expected to make a major new product push over the next three years.
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