In­finiti poised to en­ter pre­mium mar­ket

South Waikato News - - Motoring - ROB MAETZIG

Heard of In­finiti? It’s a pre­mium Ja­panese brand that is well­known in most parts of the world – but not, up un­til now, in New Zealand.

But now that’s chang­ing. In­finiti New Zealand is now op­er­at­ing as the wholly-owned sub­sidiary of Kiwi-owned Global Mo­tors New Zealand Ltd – the same or­gan­i­sa­tion that dis­trib­utes Re­nault product – and is es­tab­lish­ing deal­er­ships in Auck­land and Christchurch.

The fu­ture is likely to see more deal­er­ships at such cities as Welling­ton and Tau­ranga. But firstly the brand will test the wa­ter where the bulk of lux­ury product is al­ready be­ing sold. Auck­land ac­counts for 58.5 per cent of the lux­ury mar­ket, and Christchurch 14 per cent.

The first stand-alone deal­er­ship will be at Christchurch’s Euro­marq along­side In­finiti’s fel­low Re­nault-nis­san Al­liance brand Re­nault. It is ex­pected to be op­er­a­tional early in March. The sec­ond will open around Septem­ber at 500 Great South Rd in Green­lane, Auck­land, once again along­side the ex­ist­ing Re­nault deal­er­ship.

Both In­finiti deal­er­ships are cur­rently shar­ing show­room space with their Re­nault cousins, and ini­tially the brand’s Q50 sedan, QX70 sports SUV and mega-sized QX80 SUV are be­ing sold. The fu­ture may see fur­ther In­finiti mod­els on sale, in­clud­ing the Q30 hatch, QX30 small SUV, and Q60 coupe.

At a me­dia brief­ing in Auck­land, special guest, Hironori Fu­jita, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of In­finiti in Asia and Ocea­nia, fore­cast New Zealand’s pre­mium mar­ket will ac­cept the ve­hi­cles well.

‘‘It is the pre­mium brand of the Re­nault-nis­san Al­liance,’’ he said. ‘‘The mod­els are per­for­mance ori­ented driver-cen­tric ve­hi­cles, and we are con­fi­dent that will res­onate with New Zealand mo­torists.’’

Fu­jita said the In­finiti strat­egy for New Zealand is to firstly in­tro­duce core product.

‘‘We’ll see how the mar­ket re­acts to that, and then we’ll set a growth strat­egy. But over­all we are ex­cited. We see New Zealand as one of the growth mar­kets.’’

In­finiti was launched by Nis­san as a brand in North Amer­ica in 1989, and has pro­gressed to be present in more than 15 coun­tries world­wide.

The product for New Zealand is built in Ja­pan, but the In­finiti name is not used here – al­though the Q50 is sold as the Nis­san Sky­line.

In­finiti Q50 is avail­able with con­ven­tional pow­er­train or as a hy­brid.

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