Infiniti Australia boss Jean-Philippe Roux says the Japanese luxury brand is set to further expand its dealer network and localise its marketing strategy ahead of a big product push in 2016.
Next year will see the arrival of the new Infiniti Q30 small hatch and its QX30 crossover equivalent in addition to the Q60 coupe and updated QX70 SUV, marking the most significant year for Infiniti since its Australian launch in 2012.
Speaking with CarAdvice at the launch of the new Infiniti QX80 SUV, Roux said the natural development of the dealership network goes alongside the product plan.
“You want to make sure that when you appoint a new dealer, there’s enough volume in terms of sales opportunity. Obviously Q50 was the first access to a greater segment and obviously Q30 would be opening up more market potential… as that’s where the market is currently growing.”
Infiniti currently has dealerships in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, however it will likely further expand into Melbourne and Sydney and potentially enter the West Australian market.
“We are currently working to have greater coverage of big cities, which is the obvious ones, we are not going to be expanding everywhere, but Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, we are looking at adding a bit more coverage.”
The brand also has a pop-up store on the Gold Coast that it believes helps further build awareness and marketing. The latter of which will see Infiniti change its tune from mass marketing to more localised and targeted projects.
“Because of our [limited] network coverage and our current brand awareness, I think there’s a need for us to be a bit more targeted in terms of actions and I think now comes wave two of Infiniti, which after the big launch and big boom and all the aspirations in terms of volume, we now need to move into a bit more pragmatic area and do a few basic things but do them properly, marketing that is a bit more local, that is a bit more targeted.”
Roux dismissed the notion that the brand is stuck in a vicious circle, whereby the lack of brand awareness is holding back additional dealers, which if appointed, would in turn help lift the brand awareness.
“I think it could be perceived that it’s stuck in a vicious circle, but it’s not actually. I have been positively impressed by the appeal from potential dealers.”
Dealers have an appetite for luxury brands, Roux says, which has seen their market share grow noticeably in the past decade (admittedly, the gain has been had mainly by the Germans) and with Infiniti being on the lower price point of the segment, additional dealer involvement should not be an issue.
“Dealers perceive the premium component of the market as increasing, so although the market might be remaining pretty flat, the premium component is increasing, so that’s the first factor, so some of them are willing to have access to that market and Infiniti is a relatively lower entry price than some of the established brands, in terms of investment.”
For the first half of this year (January to June), Infiniti has sold 271 vehicles, up from 210 from the same period in 2014. That averages 15 cars per dealer per month.