We’re nearer to In­finiti

Nis­san’s lux­ury range will come to Aus­tralia next year, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - On Road -

NO one will have any trou­ble spot­ting a new In­finiti in Aus­tralia, based on the con­cept car it has ready for the Geneva Mo­tor Show.

In­finiti has gone all-out with an over-the-top dream ma­chine called the Etherea for the first ma­jor Euro­pean mo­tor show of 2011.

Only a mother would call it beau­ti­ful. It looks more like a car­toon char­ac­ter than any­thing that is re­motely suit­able for the road.

But In­finiti is push­ing the edges as it works to cre­ate an up­scale fol­low­ing with Europe lux­ury buy­ers who are happy in Audi-Benz-BMW show­rooms.

The con­cept is aimed at younger buy­ers who are more likely to de­fect.

‘‘It is not just a smaller ver­sion of a typ­i­cally con­ser­va­tive and tra­di­tional lux­ury car. Etherea is about a new type of lux­ury for younger buy­ers,’’ says Toru Saito, leader of the Global In­finiti Busi­ness Unit.

The Etherea comes af­ter In­finiti’s early Euro­pean suc­cess with its SUVs and it’s now look­ing for some­thing ex­tra from a cross­over that is sim­i­lar in size to a Nis­san Ti­ida.

It’s a hugely sculpted shape with all sorts of curves and cutouts, as well as a chopped-off tail and drop-down nose.

Nis­san, the par­ent of In­finiti— like Lexus and Toy­ota — is pro­tec­tive of its new child and says the Etherea con­cept ‘‘blends el­e­ments of coupe, sedan, hatch­back and even cross­over in one highly sculp­tural, near-mono vol­ume form’’.

It could also be de­scribed as a try- hard ef­fort that’s a mish-mash-mash of ideas and as­pi­ra­tions.

But In­finiti is push­ing the edges and its cur­rent pro­duc­tion mod­els — from the SUVs to sports coupes — have a dis­tinct look that works in the US and Europe.

In­finiti is on the launch pad in Aus­tralia, but cus­tomers will not get cars un­til 2012 be­cause Nis­san Aus­tralia plans to wait un­til it gets the right cars at the right prices. The brand failed once be­fore, in the early 1990s, and In­finiti must be priced right for suc­cess the sec­ond time.

Curvy: The Etherea ‘‘blends el­e­ments of coupe, sedan, hatch­back and even cross­over’’.

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