Plans for an Infiniti Electric car – based on the Nissan LEAF and previewed by the LE Concept – have been put on hold as Infiniti concentrate on volume cars.
Nissan’s luxury arm, Infiniti, is on a global push to try and make inroads in to the dominance of Lexus in the luxury Japanese car arena, and has ambitious plans to be selling 500,000 cars a year by 2017.
But Infiniti sold only a third of that total in 2012, so any chance of hitting the lofty target of 500k cars in the next five years means they must concentrate on volume cars, not niche cars like a Nissan LEAF based EV.
That means the LEAF-based Infiniti LE EV Concept we saw at the New York Auto Show in 2012 will stay as a concept for the foreseeable future as Infiniti boss, Johan de Nysschen, seeks volume cars that will push the brand forward and bring proper sales numbers.
So Infiniti will be concentrating on volume offerings from Infiniti and also on producing offerings that are less overtly sporty (which is surely giving up on Infiniti’s USP over Lexus?) at the top end, with a new car sitting above the current Q70 (Infiniti M) and an entry-level compact car, based on the Mercedes A Class and built in the UK, due to arrive in 2015.
That said, de Nysschen still sees the Infiniti flagship as being more Porsche Panamera than Mercedes S Class and plans to spin a 2-door coupe off the same platform. So although the Infiniti flagship will be more luxury than sporty, it will still be more rakish than a traditional luxury saloon like the S Class, 7 Series or LS.
As for the plan to hit 500,000 cars a year by 2017, de Nysschen says it’s a big ask but that he won’t be stressing over the actual numbers as long as Infiniti go a long way towards that volume.
But if by 2017 Infiniti sales are only around 200,000, then “…the plan has gone wrong, big time.”