Even With New Leader, Infiniti Struggles For Upper Echelon

Jan 27 2014, 10:36am CST | by

Even With New Leader, Infiniti Struggles For Upper Echelon

Johan de Nysschen declared at the Detroit auto show this month that Infiniti will “continue to surprise,” 25 years after Nissan launched its U.S.-centric luxury brand at the same North American International Auto Show.

But so far, it’s de Nysschen who has been surprised — by his inability to turn around the flailing brand quickly after he began posting better results almost immediately during his earlier revival of the Audi of America franchise.

Infiniti sales have vastly underperformed de Nysschen’s expectations of making rapid improvements after taking the helm of the struggling brand 18 months ago. So far de Nysschen hasn’t been able to effectively apply his old magic, and Infiniti’s growth has stalled while other premium marques have continued to accelerate.

Infiniti will “move well beyond 500,000 units by 2020″ in worldwide sales, de Nysschen declared at the show, which is actually somewhat short of the 600,000-unit goal that was reported for the brand when it hired him after a great turn in leading Audi to annual double-digit sales gains in the U.S. for several years running.

In 2013, Infiniti’s U.S. sales actually declined by 2 percent, to about 116,000 units, while those of rivals Lexus increased by 12 percent, for instance, and Audi by 13 percent.

And de Nysschen may have pared back his initial hopes that Infiniti could eventually play with the gorillas of the segment. “We’ll be a significant player in the premium market, but we’ll still be small enough to be able to be exclusive,” he said at Detroit.

De Nysschen is said to be frustrated with the inner workings of Nissan as well as with the outer results. Another problem is a lack of product breadth: At this point the brand is represented in segments that account for only 58 percent of all American luxury-car sales.

But in Detroit, de Nysschen declared that Infiniti’s plans to grow dynamically have not waned and that the brand intends to ride a combination of broader segment representation, robust new vehicles bearing a fresh design language, new powertrains and more significant presence in new global markets to greater success.

Michael Bartsch, Infiniti’s vice president of the Americas, said that Infiniti is likely to move about 125,000 vehicles in the United States during the current fiscal year which ends in March, which in itself would be a 7-percent uptick in the annualized rate over Infiniti’s calendar-2013 performance — and, thus, quick progress.

Substantially, that growth will be driven by the impressive Q-series Q50 sedan that Infiniti introduced last year. Over the last two months in the U.S., Bartsch said, Infiniti has sold more than 10,000 Q50 units, and more than half of the buyers have been “conquest” customers.

Infiniti expects to introduce next year a version of its smaller Q30 sedan in the US, and it displayed a Q50 Eau Rouge concept vehicle at the show that is likely to influence future versions of the Q50 and possibly a performance-focused sub-brand, much like how parent company Nissan has its GTR line-up.

Globally, de Nysschen said, China is key. Infiniti will open a plant in China later this year. And as if to underscore Infiniti’s global brand relevance, he noted in Detroit that songstress Katy Perry had just performed for Infiniti at an event in China.

The brand, de Nysschen said, is “hard at work building momentum.”

Still, Bartsch said, “Our focus is not on quantity but on the quality of our business.” He said that a “major task is building the reach of the Infiniti brand and its premium nature [and] making it easier for [American] customers to experience it.”

Source: Forbes Auto

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Grove Collision Repairs, Ltd. Offering a Streamlined Repair Solution
Spruce Grove, Canada, April 23, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Parkland County-based collision repair specialist, Grove Collision Repairs now offers seamless solutions for all incoming clientele with collision repair needs. It...
 
 
Autobody Repair Shop Grove Collision Repairs, Ltd. Highlights Accident Response Tips on Website
Spruce Grove, Canada, April 23, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Local Parkland County specialists for fast, efficient autobody repair work, Grove Collision Repairs, Ltd is now highlighting the steps that drivers must takes after an...
 
 
Donlen Names Top Auction Award Winners
Northbrook, IL, April 23, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Donlen, the fleet industry's most customer centric and technically integrated provider of financing and asset management solutions, announced today recipients of its...
 
 
UAW Stand-Down In Tennessee May Signal Its Ultimate Demise
It’s remarkable how fast the triumphalist vision of United Auto Workers President Bob King is crumbling. The union’s decision this week to stop contesting the vote in Chattanooga comprises a strategic rather than merely...
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

The Simple Truth About SEO
A couple weeks ago, I got a call from one of our portfolio company’s CEOs, who was frustrated by his confusion around SEO. He felt like he just couldn’t get a straight answer. Each “expert” claimed to know the secret...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Webinar Discusses When a Warehouse Control System is the Right Choice
Cincinnati, OH, April 23, 2014 --(PR.com)-- QC Software, will host a webinar that will examine when a warehouse control system (WCS) is the right choice. &#8220;Companies are spending a lot of money on software and...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Steve Simmerman Senior Vice President at TZA Interviewed on Manufacturing Revival Radio Sponsored by Pcdata USA
East Granby, CT, April 23, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Pcdata USA sponsored Manufacturing Revival Radio, a weekly podcast about the resurgence of American manufacturing, interviewed special guest Steve Simmerman, TZA&#8217;s...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Digital Journal Features Magline CooLift Ergonomic Solution
Standish, MI, April 23, 2014 --(PR.com)-- DigitalJournal.com featured Magline, maker of innovative lightweight route distribution solutions. According to the article, warehouse SKUs have quadrupled during the last 15...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Michael Hasco of Seegrid Vision-Guided AGVs Reports European Manufacturers See Safety Gains
Pittsburgh, PA, April 23, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Seegrid, maker of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) is exhibiting at CeMat 2014 to meet global demand of AGVs. Seegrid will be exhibiting at Hall 27, Booth H12. CeMAT 2014...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Avoiding the Dangers of Forklift Accidents Explained in Seegrids Current Blog
Pittsburgh, PA, April 23, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Forklifts, despite their many benefits, are far too often the causes of serious and even deadly accidents according to Tom Reddon, forklift specialist and blog manager for...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Concord Medical's China Growth Plans
When Concord Medical Services (NYSE: CCM), the largest private provider of radiotherapy and diagnostic imaging centers in China, first applied in January 2011 to the local Chinese government for its project in Guangzhou...
Read more on Business Balla
 
New Additive Will Revolutionize Heavy Oil Production and Transportation and Save Producers at Least $4 - $5 Per Barrel
Calgary, Canada, April 23, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Oil production continues to surge in Alberta and with it the use of diluent, light oil mixed with heavy oil to obtain a consistency that is pipeline compatible. The demand...
Read more on Business Balla
 
HastonWilliams Launches Contract Staffing Division
Dallas, TX, April 23, 2014 --(PR.com)-- HastonWilliams has launched a new division offering contract staffing services for their Dallas based recruitment clientele. &#8220;It&#8217;s an exciting time,&#8221; says...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Western Independent Bankers Endorses Touchpoint Metrics and Touchpoint Mapping On-Demand, a Cloud-Based Customer Experience Management Software
San Anselmo, CA, April 23, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Western Independent Bankers announced today that is has endorsed customer experience solutions company Touchpoint Metrics (OTCQB:TPOI) to provide customer experience...
Read more on Business Balla
 
 
Auto Balla Sexy Balla Sport Balla TV Balla Politics Balla Movie Balla Apple Balla Business Balla Ad Balla Celebrity Balla