“There is no question our competition produce outstanding quality automobiles, technologically well engineered. But, we believe they are too rationally driven.” said Allen Lu, managing director of Infiniti for Asia and Oceania.
Speaking to the media at the Nissan 360 event in Los Angeles, Lu explained that Infiniti should appeal to buyers hearts as much as their sense of reason.
“Some of our competitors can be perceived as being a bit clinical and cold. At Infiniti, we believe emotion is a key driver for our customers, so we will express Infiniti as a warm, open, inviting, informal, humane brand.”
The point of Infiniti, Lu extrapolated, was to be different to the established luxury manufacturers.
“And as a challenger brand, we cannot disturb the equilibrium and challenge the currently dominating brands if we create products that are just as good.”
Nissan owned Infiniti will soon launch the Infiniti Q50 medium car in Australia to compete with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3 Series. Lu says the new range of products ‘have to be better’ than the competition.
“We have to create products with substance in terms of the design, the materials, the fit and finish, the craftsmanship, the performance, the engineering, reliability and the overall ownership experience that are … quite frankly … overwhelmingly superior [to our competition].”
Infiniti plans to expand its product offering by 60 percent over the next five years, while also increasing powertrain choices by 50 percent.
Nonetheless, the brand is currently focused on buildings its brand, rather than chasing volume.
“To build a strong brand, we cannot chase volume in the short-term. We are developing a clearly defined and differentiated brand strategy with a culture and a set of values. There is a strong desire for futuristic products with character and personality.” Lu said.
Infiniti's launch in Australia has been slow, with the company currently operating out of only three dealerships in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Year to date the Japanese luxury brand has sold just 207 cars, compared with 13,357 for BMW, 17,791 for Mercedes-Benz, 10,777 for Audi and 4,470 for fellow Japanese rival Lexus.
Infiniti president Johan de Nysschen’s recently admitted that it may have been helpful to delay the brand’s Australian launch by more than a year to align with the introduction of the all-new Infiniti Q50 sedan.