Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Infiniti Takes Fight to Luxury Rivals

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Infiniti Takes Fight to Luxury Rivals

Article excerpt

THE big guns at go-ahead car company Infiniti are nothing if not optimistic.

This is an outfit that sold a mere 300 cars in Britain last year from just four showrooms - or Infiniti Centres as these boutique hotel-style dealerships are known - yet has the aim of topping 20,000 sales by 2016.

Nor are we talking bargain basement products, the cheapest Infiniti currently on sale is the BMW 3 Series rivalling G37 saloon at pounds 33,549.

However this luxury arm of Nissan has never shirked the challenge; not even from day one. For instance what sort of company other than a mega-confident or foolhardy one launches a luxury brand just as the financial world is collapsing, like Infiniti did three years ago? But as communications director Wayne Bruce points out: "When times are tough it's the top and bottom ends of the market that seem the least affected, while everything else feels the squeeze." Infiniti is under no illusion that to be a credible luxury brand it has to be successful in the UK, hence the company's ambitious target.

The route to racking up the big numbers has been meticulously planned, the first major move being the brand awareness campaign that resulted in them signing a sponsorship deal with Red Bull Racing.

The contract, which began in March, has just been extended for 2012 when enhanced logos will appear on the side of the chassis and cockpit top of the next generation F1 car, as well as on the drivers' overalls and team equipment.

As for product, the company's current line-up of G37 saloon, coupe and convertible models, compact crossover EX, full-blown FX 4x4 and M Series saloon has just been joined by the UK launch of the cleanest and fastest model in the range, the M35h petrol/electric hybrid.

It also coincides with the opening of the fifth and sixth Infiniti Centres at Stockport and Leeds, as the company ramps up its push to open a network of 40 UK outlets in the next five years, and sell around 100,000 cars in Europe. …

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