Nissan to Introduce Infiniti Brand to Japan Market
15 Janvier 2013 - Wall Street Journal
Nissan Motor Co.’s upscale Infiniti vehicles will be introduced into its home market in Japan in as soon as two years for the first time, some 25 years after the brand was launched, the head of the luxury vehicle division said Sunday.
“Nissan needs to accommodate the Infiniti platform in Japan. It’s a must,” Infiniti division president Johan de Nysschen said Sunday.
Mr. de Nysschen, who took over the Nissan premium brand last July, told reporters in a meeting ahead of an annual auto show in Detroit that he wants to bring Infiniti into the Japanese market “within the next two years.”
Japan’s No. 2 carmaker by volume currently sells vehicles under the Infiniti brand in about 50 markets globally, but sells its upscale vehicles at home under the Nissan brand.
Mr. de Nysschen said that a study is underway to determine how best to integrate Infiniti into the Yokohama-based company’s domestic dealer network.
Nissan wants to expand Infiniti sales globally to 500,000 vehicles a year by 2017, he said, up from about 160,000 in 2012.
And the company wants to grow Infiniti sales in China to 200,000 over the next seven years, up from around 16,000 last year.
“I expect 200,000 (Infiniti vehicle sales) in China by the end of the decade,” Mr. de Nysschen said.
Spillover from heightened diplomatic tensions between the Chinese and Japanese governments likely cost Nissan’s upscale brand up to 20,000 vehicles in lost sales in China in 2012, the Infiniti chief said.
“It probably cost us 15,000 to 20,000 in sales” of Infiniti vehicles, Mr. de Nysschen said, adding that he expects sales in China to recover this year.
Nissan and Toyota Motor Corp. both launched luxury car brands in 1989. Lexus, Toyota’s luxury brand, was introduced into the Japanese market in 2005.
Mr. de Nysschen joined Nissan as a senior vice president, and president of Infiniti after 19 years at Audi, one of Volkswagen AG’s premium car brands.