Infiniti is entering the premium small car market that has previously been penetrated by rival Lexus. Of course this market continues to be dominated by the Audi A3 and BMW 1-Series. Meanwhile, it is predicted that sales of compact hatchbacks from upmarket brands will take away somewhat from those of larger saloons such as the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series in 2010.
Toru Saito, the head of Infiniti, said that the company is aware of the downsizing trend and that it is considering the smaller car category. At the start of next year, Lexus will enter the small hatch class with the hybrid CT 200h.
Infiniti, the premium car arm of Nissan, has revealed plans to produce a small all-electric car, which is likely to be based on the underpinnings of the Nissan Leaf. However, a conventional-engined small Infiniti is probable as well.
Saito said that the company is studying all the engines in the Renault-Nissan alliance. In particular, Saito is looking at a four-cylinder engine but for the short- and mid-term, its cars will likely continue with V6 and V8 engines. If it does decide to make a small car, it will still be an Infiniti.
Saito added that the all-electric car will be a compact four-seater and will "definitely not be a niche car." For this model, Saito said that the company expects nothing less than a quick market penetration. [via whatcar]