Infiniti in Europe

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Infiniti is seriously thinking of entering the European market in late 2008.
I think most Europeans looking for a luxury car are still only shopping between BMW and Mercedes.
That’s why Lancia, Peugeot and Renault, among others, have such a hard time in this market.
Ford and Opel even gave up years ago with the death of the Scorpio and Senator.
And Lexus is still struggling.

Do you think Infinity has a chance?

Any of our European readers care to comment?

Conversation 16 comments

  1. Hi Vince—Great website! Here in Holland cars are heavily taxed by the government. An identical car in Germany will cost about 1/3 less. Because of this most people negotiate a leased car as part of their salary…and leases probably account for the vast majority of luxury cars. The lease price is set by the employer and most employees are free to choose which ever car they want within that price. BMW is the most desirable, but they are expensive and A4 money will only get you a 1 series. I notice a lot more nicely optioned A3’s and A4’s then stripped 3 series and C classes. I say Infiniti has a chance only if they price their cars well below Audi.

  2. especially in germany they will have a hard time. though lexus is getting better numbers throughout this year, they have still a long way to go. and considering the time lexus has been active over here…lets say, we’ll see, but I don’t give’em really good sales for the next couple of years (or decades?)

  3. I think that overall they have as much of a chance as Cadillac in their renasissance or Lexus.

    The Euros are incredibly resistant to new brands showing up in their market. Lexus has had a hell of a time selling cars there and they’re the number 1 luxury brand in the US. As such, I think that once they launch the brand (which is the only “real” luxury brand between PSA/Nissan — read RWD), it has a fair chance of moderate success.

    But as you point out, other second tier luxury brands that are grown much closer to home like Lancia, Citroen, Saab, Volvo and others still don’t have the prestige or command the prescence in the market that Benz and Bimmer have — so who knows.

    One this IS consistent though — they must make an appealing case in regards to styling and price.

  4. I think Infiniti might stand a chance of some penetration into the more niche segments of the luxury markets in Europe with offerings like the G35 Coupé and some of its SUV line-up.

    The design language of the cars is already more “organic” and “emotional” than Lexus, so should appeal more to European consumers, who aren’t exactly turned on by Lexus’ ruthless clinical efficiency and overwhelming lack of character.

    Where I think they might struggle is in the more mainstream segments of the luxury market, fighting alongside the likes of the Audi A4 & A6, BMW 3 & 5 and the Mercedes C & E – I don’t think European consumers are quite so willing to take a gamble on an unproven badge in such traditionally German dominated sectors. Even Jaguar hasn’t really succeeded in taking on the Germans at their own game in that market.

  5. Nope. Same problems with Lexus in Europe: lack of halo products, lack of brand images, lack of high end diesel engines, and lack of resell values will keep it grounded. Especially, when European viewed Japanese quality can’t even match Skoda and Volkswagen, Infiniti will have a tough battle to set foothold in Europe.

  6. Not a EURO dude, but I can say with certainty that INFINITI has a very strong chance in Europe. LEXUS is having issues because their cars are not performance oriented and they lack soul…everything Infiniti has. The G35 coupe is the first anything to make bimmerphiles second guess their feelings about the 3 series coupe.
    I say send the FX35, G35 cpe & sdn, price ’em right and option them right and INFINITI will make out like a bank robber at midnight.

  7. I’m from Europe, Estonia. I think that german cars are seriously overpriced and quality is not so good as in past. Couple of weeks ago we were looking for new car to replace our Volvo S40. Initial idea was Toyota Avensis, but it was too dull for personal car, and we already have Toyota LC. 🙂 We tested MB, Audi, BMW, VW, Saab, Honda and Subaru. Subaru Legacy was our favorite until, fortunately, we returned to Toyota to drive Lexus IS250. So, guess the result? 🙂 I think Lexus has all chances to increase their sales with new models. And I wish Lexus all the success to beat german car stereotypes. 🙂

  8. The new Lexus vehicles have more engaging and expressive styling than most of their competition out there, but they need more diesels and a better distribution network.

    If Infiniti is to start in Europe, it is best off with the G35–although that car is rather big for its class. Don’t bother with the FX–its sales are tanking in the US now.

  9. well they will have a hard time.. like lexus. lexus lacks diesel engines, a strong brand and performace. Infiniti might do better if they start sellig SUVs, a segment in wich asian companies have a better image.
    Lancia in dead, they are only selling luxury small cars right now.. but wait for the new delta. saab is slowly improving and volvo is doing ok, although volvo isn’t really luxury, they are just in between a normal ford or renault and the germans. Alfa Romeo is doing better with it’s new 159, wich is german quality and better styling. jaguar needs new cars… and is overpriced. only people over 45 buy them

  10. infiniti will struggle in europe, for i have never heard of a diesel engine from them (or perhaps at least in america). like lexus, i think new brands lack the resale value, so i think german sedans are still best for that. over 50% of value for BMW! compared to 43% for lexus. it seems to me that infiniti should stick with america. i dont think anything other than the g sedan would sell here (due to petrol and insurance and size) if anything sells at all

  11. Lexus as a brand had and still has a hard time to establish the image and reputation which the products deserve, but the rethinking is starting now. I think Infiniti will have a even harder time although they won’t do some of the mistakes that Lexus has done in the past. They sure will study on how Lexus is doing it and how they’re going to position theirselfs. On the other hand, Infiniti doesn’t have a well excepted mother brand – Nissan. Compared to Toyota, Nissan is a poor dog and won’t help Infiniti to build up a positive image. Well, at the moment, it’s all about Image…..

  12. I think if they introduced the G35 coupe into the market first, they could gain some critical momentum because all said and done, the G35 a delightful car and has the potential to sell well in almost any country. Following that they could introduce the other models like the M35/45

  13. Well designed cars may be helpful for Infiniti as it’s not the case for Lexus (at last for the ones currently on market). The FX is not officially imported here but you can some in Paris.
    And look @ the success of the Murano, well designed but without a diesel engine : it has been sold more than the Lexus RX ! even with it’s hybrid engine.
    If cheaper than MB & BM Infiniti has its chance.

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