Infiniti Australia believes the launches of its new Q30 and QX30 in 2016 will be game changers for the brand both in terms of volume and brand awareness.
Infiniti released an official image and initial details of the Q30 overnight, just hours after the same image leaked online.
Dubbed a "Premium Active Compact" by Infiniti, the Q30 has a high-riding hatchback design similar to the jacked-up Citroen DS4. Infiniti describes the Q30 as a "category-breaking vehicle concept developed for customers seeking urban individuality", and promises "dynamic drive characteristics" and "confident and responsive performance as well as excellent ride and handling".
The production version will debut at September's Frankfurt motor show, exactly two years after the unveiling of the Q30 concept.
Speaking with Australian automotive media at the launch of the new QX80 in Tasmania this week, Infiniti Australia boss Jean-Philippe Roux said the brand was in preparation mode for the Q30.
“The key success for us is to be ready for Q30, so we are basically 12 months [away] and keep working on the foundations, doing that basic stuff,” Roux said.
Asked whether the Mercedes-Benz-derived Q30 might suffer the same fate as the Q50 (139 units sold in the first half of 2015), which the brand had pinned hopes for a great deal of volume growth on, Roux admitted that it couldn’t just be one car to change Infiniti’s fortunes in Australia.
“Q30 is a game changer for us, but it’s not a silver bullet that is going to change everything. It’s a good game changer in terms of volume and brand awareness... We are investing in the product, now it's time for us to make it happen.”
The Q50, Roux says, has been hindered by Infiniti’s limited dealer network.
“You might be thinking it’s not much of a success, but it has its own limitations in terms of our brand awareness and metro coverage. So there’s not much we could do with Q50 on back of low network coverage.
"Q30 is going to drive us more volume and brand awareness, but we are here for the long term so as more models are coming through we want to grow the volume, but success is not only measured by volume but also measured by network expansion and additional products coming through.”
In regards to the new small hatch, Infiniti suggests the Q30 could be the best equipped small car in the luxury segment, but it may not be the cheapest.
“Our DNA is very much about the value you get and the features and technology and for the price. We don’t necessarily have to be the price leader in terms of visual price, it’s just the combination of features and the price you pay for it.”
In terms of establishing the brand and increasing volume, Roux said “we all know it’s going to take some time, we all know it’s a long journey. But, there’s potential for an alternative offering in the market”.
Infiniti Australia is set to expand its dealership network while localising its marketing efforts with a more targeted approach.