Low-volume brand looking to gradually move the needle, with a focus on QX80.
Infiniti is yet to make a real splash in Australia, despite six years of trying, but the Nissan offshoot isn't in a screaming hurry to chase big sales numbers. Instead, the brand will continue with the slow-and-steady approach.
Speaking with CarAdvice at the opening of the world's first joint Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance distribution warehouse in Truganina, Infiniti Australia managing director, Guy Street, said "steady growth and progression" is the name of the game locally.
"For us, we're not trying to be all things to all people, we just want to be all things to some people," Street said, sitting in one of the conference rooms at the huge new warehouse. He replaced Chang-hwan Lee in May, after Lee lasted just 13 months in the role, himself a replacement for a short-serving director.
"We have a real focus at the moment on working with the dealers that we have, to get them into a position where we can support them as much as possible – to help them sell just a little bit more as we go forward," he continued.
That consolidation means the current Infiniti dealer count, which sits at seven, is unlikely to rise in the near future, as head office works with the current crop of sellers to "sensibly but progressively continue to grow [their] volumes slowly".
Street highlighted the QX80 as one of the brand's biggest opportunities for growth, describing (rather diplomatically) the recently-revised, Nissan Patrol-based four-wheel drive as "a step on" from the car it replaces. Last month was the car's strongest ever, with 14 finding a home. Baby steps, right?
It's worth bearing in mind, this isn't the first time Infiniti has trotted out the 'slow and steady growth' line – far from it. Speaking with CarAdvice last year, Bernard Michael, manager for product planning at Infiniti Australia, said "it's a slow burn with the brand. It's going to take some time".
Roll back to January 2017, and Jean-Phillipe Roux – then managing director – told us "it's going to be a long journey and we still have a lot of work to do, a lot of work to do".
You get the idea... In 2016, Roux was also keen to stick to the positives, suggesting "different milestones" from sales were being tracked, and said the brand's slow rollout was necessary.
Whether Street is able to do what his predecessors couldn't and really give Infiniti some momentum Down Under remains to be seen.