Frankfurt Motor Show: Infiniti boss says we are still viable in the UK
An Infiniti director has insisted his brand is still viable in the UK – despite less than 100 models finding homes so far this year.
Infiniti Europe commercial boss Guillaume Pelletreau admitted he was unhappy with the marque's current performance, but was adamant there were plans for improvement.
"I am not happy with the current performance," he told us in an exclusive interview at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
"But am I confident we can do better? Yes I am. We were very late investing in the UK and Germany and these are two markets where we have the fiercest battles to fight.
"We launched the brand in the UK on October 1, 2008 – that was two weeks after Lehman brothers crashed. It was just bad luck and meant we had to postpone the speed of deployment in the UK.
"I'm not happy with where we are, but I am pretty confident we can do something in the UK."
Currently Infiniti operates six dealerships in the UK, but Pelletreau said he wanted this to rise to more than 40 as early as 2014.
"Basically we have taken too long to reach the stage we are at now," he said. "Our initial plan was for 14 sites in the UK. That has now risen to more than 40. We are looking for rapid growth in the UK and will be holding a recruitment event later this year where we will show potential partners what we have planned.
"To those that think we are failing now I would simply say: Rendezvous with us in three years."
Infinti – a luxury arm of Nissan – is keen to establish itself as a premium car maker, but Pelletreau admitted it still needed a volume selling car to become a real success in the UK.
"We need an Audi A3 fighter – and it is coming in the near future," he revealed. "This will account for 40-50 per cent of our volume and will feature four cylinder engines. But the first step is to open more dealerships and make sure we are ready to effectively market this car when it arrives.
"The big risk with Infiniti is that it is seen as just a 'Nissan Plus'. Nissan is a very good brand, but that's not the point, the point is we need to be seen as a premium brand. We don't need to be compared with Nissan we need to be compared with BMW or Audi."
What do you think? Can Infiniti become a viable rival to BMW or Audi or will it be forever be battling with low sales volumes? Let us know what you think by posting your comments below.