Nissan’s Infiniti luxury brand enjoyed the most success of its competitors, increasing sales over 27 percent, but the brand still lacks both a true halo model and entry-level vehicle — a debate that’s been swriling around Infiniti’s headquarters for a number of years, now with a decision coming.
According to Brian Carolin, vice president of Nissan North America sales, Infiniti needs a “high-priced, halo flagship model” in order to become a true luxury competitor. Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus all have at least one such model to lure customers into showrooms even if they cannot purchase the vehicle.
Audi is the prime example: it has both a halo sports car with the R8, and a luxury flagship with the A8 — two different types of Infiniti halo models Nissan is considering. Carolin revealed to Ward’s Auto that Nissan officials are debating whether the brand’s halo car should go toe-to-toe with luxo-barges or luxury sports cars.
“It’s kind of a perennial debate within the organization: ‘What do we need by way of a flagship for the Infiniti range?’” Carolin told Ward’s. “I don’t think we’ve yet arrived at a conclusion,” adding that the decision is currently a “work in progress.”
We’ve already seen Infiniti’s take on a luxury sports car in the beautiful Essence concept from two years ago. The Japanese luxury brand toured the hybrid super car around the country to gauge people’s reaction to it, but nothing ever came of it. We’ve also previously seen Infiniti’s attempt at an A8-competitor with the Q Series flagship that was discontinued in 2006. Since then the company’s A6-competing M Series, which was just redone, has been the flagship sedan. It would be intriguing to see how the M Series’ beautiful curves transfer to a larger sedan, but we’re voting for the Essence-like supercar.
At the polar opposite end of the luxury spectrum, Infiniti is also considering building a true entry-level luxury car. It introduced the new G25 to the G line with a smaller engine earlier this year, but Carolin says a true entry-level car would have to be more differentiated and ride on a new platform. Should the new model happen, it would compete with the likes of the Audi A3, BMW’s 1 Series, Volvo’s C30, and Lexus’ CT 200h.
Source: Ward’s Auto