German automakers have been dominating the market in China for so long and to change that, Nissan has announced that production will begin in 2014 for its premium Infiniti brand in China in 2014. Shifting production of Infiniti models in China places Nissan on a better position to compete with the leaders in the segment such as Audi AG, Mercedes Benz maker Daimler AG was with BMW AG.
In China, vehicles built overseas are at a disadvantage. Nissan would offer Infiniti models in China, which imposes tariffs of 25% on imported vehicles. In a statement, Nissan said that it will assemble two Infiniti models at factories run by its joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Group Co.
Sales or production targets were not provided. The identity of these two models is still unknown. Nissan has a mid-term growth plan wherein it expects to achieve sales of 500,000 Infiniti vehicles globally by 2016. It also said that China makes up a big portion of this growth. A statement was released by Andy Palmer, head of Infiniti operations, who said that the brand will reach its aggressive sales target.
He pointed out that local production in the world's biggest automobile market is not an option but is necessary to its success.
During the business year ended March 2011, Nissan sold about 146,000 Infiniti vehicles throughout the world but mostly in the U.S. Infiniti sold only 16,126 cars in Infiniti for the calendar year so far.
But in China, Infiniti sales were low. Nissan's chose to stay allow enables Japan automakers, Toyota Motor Corp., and Honda Motor Co., which are also looking to catapult sales of their premium Lexus and Acura brands globally, but have given no indication they plan to produce those cars in China.