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by Tim Beissmann

The boss of Infiniti admits the luxury car maker needs to ‘de-Americanise’ its line-up to achieve success on a global scale.

Sold exclusively in the US for almost 20 years from its 1989 formation until its European launch in 2008, Infiniti president Johan de Nysschen admits the brand needs a philosophical shift to increase the appeal of its vehicles around the world.

“Our strong US-centric focus has driven product strategy, and for Infiniti to be positioned as a strong contender in the premium market, we really do need to break the mould of [that] very strong focus,” de Nysschen told Wards Auto.

“I mean, goodness, the entry-level engine on an Infiniti is a 330hp (245kW) V6.”

Infiniti-Q50

Central to the plan is Infiniti’s partnership with Daimler, the first fruits of which see the Japanese brand’s German rival supply it with a 2.1-litre direct injection four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine from the C-Class and E-Class for use in the new Q50 sedan.

Infiniti will diversify its line-up in 2015 when it launches the Q30 small car, and is set to bolster its compact line-up with a QX30 crossover further down the track.

Despite this, de Nysschen’s boss, Nissan executive vice president Andy Palmer, believes bolstering its large-car portfolio is key to the brand’s global success, a view he acknowledges runs counter to that of its German competitors.

“[It] is the opposite direction from where BMW and Mercedes are coming,” Palmer says, “[but] they already have the reputation, and they’re coming down [to smaller segments] because there’s volume there.

“If we just go after the volume, we’ll never build the brand. So we have to look upwards.”

Infiniti-Emerg-E-Concept

De Nysschen admits a flagship four-door coupe is currently being studied, potentially to wear the ‘Q80’ nameplate from 2018, while Palmer says the company is still keen to launch a pure sports car.

“You’ve got Essence and you’ve got Emerg-e,” he said, referring to the brand’s earlier concept cars.

“We do those concepts for a reason. At some moment or other, Infiniti needs a halo vehicle.”

Infiniti Australia will expand its range with its first all-new model in November when it launches the Q50 sedan.

Read CarAdvice’s Infiniti Q50 Review.




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