Officially, Infiniti Australia says it’s “too soon to say” whether the starting price of the new Q30 small crossover hatchback will creep below the $30,000 mark. But as a brand awareness exercise, it could arguably be the shot in the arm the brand needs in Australia.
Such a price would see it undercut similarly-sized rivals such as the Audi A3 (from $36,500 plus on-road costs), BMW 1 Series (from $36,900), Lexus CT200h (from $37,990), Volvo V40 (from $37,990) and the Q30’s twin under the skin, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class (from $37,200).
In other segments that Infiniti competes, it undercuts the established players for the most part. The Q50 sedan, for instance, starts below the 3 Series, C-Class and A4; and the larger Q70 sedan - which has just been updated - betters the 5 Series, E-Class and A6 on price, too.
Infiniti Cars Australia managing director Jean-Philippe Roux told CarAdvice that the front-wheel-drive Q30 and the marginally more rugged looking all-wheel-drive QX30 models will change the company’s fortunes in Australia.
“We don’t discuss sales forecasts, but this is a very important car for us, obviously,” he said.
“I’d say it is a game changer. Is it going to be a silver bullet? Is it going to solve all our issues in terms of brand awareness? No,” Roux stated matter-of-factly.
“Are we going to multiply our volume by 10? No. But we think it’s going to have a major impact on us in terms of brand recognition and in terms of getting conquests.
“Premium is getting more and more accessible, so we feel we will be attracting a brand new set of customers to Infiniti coming from a premium angle but also from people that are looking to upgrade to Infiniti which is a first stepping stone to a premium world.
“It’s a fairly critical launch,” he said. “As far as price is important, we need to tell the story as well. … As much as price, [customers] need to be told the story of Infiniti, so I think there’s a bigger role to be done in terms of telling our story first before we talk price.
“Premium customers buy premium [products] because there’s something behind it,” he said.
It is unknown if the brand will openly vocalise the fact the Q30 is closely associated to the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and GLA-Class models. It could certainly be an interesting way to get buyers in the door.
Infiniti Cars Australia general manager of corporate communications, Peter Fadeyev, confirmed that it is “too soon to say” what price the new compact premium model will be when it arrives between July and September this year.
“This segment is a very important and very rare intersection of new premium and existing premium buyers who’ve come from larger cars, come from that size of car and want something different, and people who can step into a car that’s priced in the mid-$30,000s, which is eminently affordable for many people,” he said.
“As much as we can’t give you a number, that fact alone underscores just how important that segment is, and that car is for us, those two cars,” he said.
Infiniti sales are still minute compared with the heavy hitters in the market, with the brand registering a total of just 574 units in 2015. For context, Audi did 23,088, BMW managed 25,022, Lexus tallied 8691, and Mercedes-Benz smashed the competition with 36,374.
Tell us what you think: would a sub $30,000 starting price make you think differently about the Infiniti brand?