With no new products due this year, Nissan’s upmarket division Infiniti has a tough time ahead as it continues on its quest for relevancy in the global luxury market, and the reshuffling of some of its most senior executives isn’t helping. Following the sudden departure of its chief Johan de Nysschen last summer, who was with the brand for only two years, Infiniti has now confirmed that its U.S. chief Michael Bartsch is also leaving.
Bartsch, a former Porsche exec, only joined Infiniti in 2013 and is being replaced by Randy Parker, who is currently vice president of Nissan North America’s Western Region. In his new role, Parker will report to former BMW exec Roland Krüger who was named Infiniti chief late last year.
Bartsch is leaving to pursue other interests, Infiniti said in a statement. Another influential exec to have left the Nissan fold was product chief Andy Palmer, who now heads Aston Martin.
Parker takes the reigns at Infiniti’s U.S. division at time when the brand's sales are only treading water, in a luxury market that’s booming. Last year, Infiniti sold just 117,300 cars in the U.S., up 0.8 of a percent on 2013’s result. Parker's main task will be to see Infiniti claw back some of its lost U.S. market share.
"It is our pleasure to welcome Randy Parker to Infiniti," Roland Krüger said in a statement. "Randy will be responsible for accelerating Infiniti's progress in our largest worldwide market and driving our brand transformation as we execute an expanded product portfolio of premium luxury products."
That expanded product portfolio will include new compact cars like the Q30 and QX30. There will also be a new generation of the Q60 and possibly a new flagship model dubbed the Q80. Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing any of these new models until 2016 at the earliest. The only significant product news for 2015 is the addition of a four-cylinder engine for the Q50.