Weak market in Europe forces Infiniti to delay sales targets

Article by Anita Panait, on December 27, 2012

Infiniti acknowledged that that it will probably take longer than 2016 to achieve its goal of selling 100,000 vehicles Europe annually, Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen told Automotive News Europe. The carmaker still aims to sell 100,000 vehicles in the region annually, but it will likely not meet the timeline that it initially set. De Nysschen remarked to Automotive News Europe that “there is not a line in the sand” that says the Infiniti has to achieve those volumes by a certain time.

He noted that the carmaker has to meet its volume sales targets in a ”sensible way." Carlo Ghosn, chief executive of Infiniti’s parent Nissan and its partner Renault, had set a target for the carmaker to increase annual sales in Europe -- including Turkey and Russia -- to 100,000 vehicles by 2016 from 12,500 in 2011.

The target was part of Ghosn's aim to triple Infiniti's global sales to 500,000 units by 2016, from 146,000 in 2011. Infiniti will be banking on its premium compact due in 2015 to boost its sales in Europe.

The premium compact will take styling cues from the Etherea concept that Infiniti unveiled at the 2011 Geneva auto show. Infiniti believes the 2015 car – which will compete against the Audi A3 and BMW 1 series -- will find a market among young consumers in Europe. Earlier this month, the premium car maker announced it would produce its new premium compact hatchback in the United Kingdom.

Infiniti will commence producing its entry model in 2015 for global markets at Nissan's Sunderland plant in England. Nissan will spend around GBP250 million ($405 million) to expand the plant’s capacity to allow it to produce around 60,000 Infiniti models a year. The compact will share platforms with the Mercedes A- and B-class models, as part of a two-year-old strategic cooperation between Renault-Nissan and Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler.

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Topics: infiniti, europe, sales

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