Infiniti is confident that the young consumers in Europe will take a liking to its new entry-premium car. However, industry watchers think that the model won’t have an easy challenge of competing with more established models like the BMW 1 series and Audi A3. Infiniti wants to launch this model within four years in order to put up a good fight in the expanding market in Europe for small premium vehicles.
According to company executives, the car would be different from anything presently offered in the premium compact class (not only a smaller version of a conservative luxury car). Jean-Pierre Diernaz, Infiniti Europe marketing director, thinks the model will succeed since it comes with driving performance and style that German luxury brands don’t offer.
At a press event in London, Diernaz told Automotive News Europe that there are a handful of German automakers dominating the luxury market in Europe but then it can’t be expected that the younger buyers would be interested in their parents’ preferred brand. He said that there’s a need for “more-modern luxury models.” We got a preview of this new model’s design from Infiniti's Etherea concept car presented at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show.
Diernaz said that the car’s European launch date is in 2016 however, no specific date was given. This would be the first car that Infiniti makes in Europe. Automotive News Europe sources said that the brand will ink a contract with Magna Steyr to produce about 50,000 to 60,000 units annually of the model in Graz, Austria.
This car would use Mercedes's MFA architecture, which underpins the second-generation A- and B-class model lines. Daimler, the parent of Mercedes, has a technology sharing partnership with Renault-Nissan. IHS Automotive analyst Carlos Da Silva believes that Infiniti has to build up its image in Europe. He thinks that an entry-level model would assist with this goal.