Infiniti products have long been sold in Japan, where they have traditionally been badged as Nissans, but with Infiniti wanting to position itself as a global luxury brand it really needs a presence in its home market. That’s why Infiniti’s new boss Johan de Nysschen wants to launch Infiniti in Japan, but doing so has raised some problems.
One problem is what to do with Infiniti cars previously sold in Japan as Nissans, such as the G range, which has been badged a Skyline in Japan, and the M range, which has been badged a Fuga. Instead of simply replacing these well-known nameplates with their Infiniti equivalents, in this case Q50 and Q70, respectively, Nissan has chosen to keep the original nameplates but use an Infiniti badge on the cars.
So the new Q50 will be sold in Japan as a Nissan Skyline, but it will wear Infiniti badges. The same strategy is likely to be used for the Q70/Fuga, though Nissan is yet to confirm it.
Another problem is whether to sell Infiniti models through dedicated dealerships or share showroom space with Nissan dealers. At the moment, the Infiniti models offered in Japan will be sold by Nissan dealers, since they’re still being called Nissans.
How this strategy will play out in the future remains to be seen. 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. However, moving too quickly may end up confusing shoppers, and it probably hasn’t helped that Infiniti also chose to rename its entire lineup at the same time.
The new 2014 Nissan Skyline, badged as an Infiniti, will go on sale in Japan initially in 350GT hybrid trim, which is essentially the Q50 Hybrid trim sold here in the U.S. In Japan it will cost 4,496,100 yen ($45,300), which is comparable with the $44,855 sticker we pay for the car.
And just in case you still aren’t confused, the previous Infiniti G37, sold in Japan as a Nissan Skyline, but without Infiniti badges, will still be on sale in the coming year, just like in the U.S. market.