DARING TO BE DIFFERENT
Infiniti reaffirmed its commitment to the Qatari market in a grand fashion with the opening of a boutique showroom in The Gate Mall which coincided with the launch of two new crossover SUV models.
Nissan's luxury division, Infiniti, couldn't have found a more suitable location for a second retail space in the country (which is also being marketed as their first “boutique” showroom in the Middle East). Nestled between the designer brands and quaint eateries, this retail concept is all about making that perfect first contact with the customer. Francois Goupil de Bouillé, Infiniti's Vice President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, who was present on the occasion of the opening, said, “We need to be where our customers are likely to visit; in this case we wanted to target those interested in the luxury market. We are happy to open our boutique in this environment because that's exactly the kind of image we want associated with Infiniti.”
Infiniti also unveiled the Infiniti QX60 and QX50 premium crossovers, which continue to be a key driver of the brand's growth in the region. “The launch of the Infiniti QX60 and QX50 reaffirms our commitment to enhance our product line-up in the Middle East,” said Juergen Schmitz, Managing Director, Infiniti Middle East. Both the QX60 and QX50 feature an overhaul in exterior design. The QX60 also features a number of interior and technological advancements whilst the QX50 has made significant improvements with particular focus on rear legroom.
“Our job is to deliver what the customer wants along with some value addition, especially in this competitive market which is the target of many well-known brands. Although we have a presence across all segments in the region, it's obvious where the demand is. Here the crossover SUV is a big market, unlike in the West where the demand is for small and mediumsized cars,” says de Bouillé. Currently, the brand has a healthy 6.5% market share in the Middle East (which peaked in March at 8%). Not only is Infiniti expanding its product lineup in this segment, but it is also listening to its customers here. “Take the QX50 Long-Wheel Base for example,” says Schmitz. “The customer feedback on the predecessor was that more legroom in the rear would have improved the car. So we followed through by increasing the wheel base.”
These cars are obviously aimed at families, e.g., the seven-seater QX60, but they are not just for soccer moms. “The cars are very versatile,” says Schmitz. “With these models, we are able to combine the functionalities of an SUV with a high-performance engine and plenty of technological innovations that make for a fun driving experience.”
Along with distinct designs that are immediately recognizable as signature Infiniti, the brand is also at the forefront of technological innovations, says de Bouillé. The Q50 sedan made a giant leap towards autonomous driving when it became the first vehicle in the market equipped with Direct Adaptive Steering or steer-by-wire, a technology adapted from airplanes, where there is no direct mechanical contact between steering wheel and wheels. The signals are all electronic, which offers a quicker and more precise steering response, keeps vibrations from the road from annoying the driver and improves the car's active lane control system
HISHAM AL MANA, Chairman and Managing Director of Saleh Al Hamad Al Mana Co. with FRANÇOIS GOUPIL DE BOUILLÉ, Vice President Infiniti Europe, Middle East and Africa, JUERGEN SCHMITZ, Managing Director, Infiniti Middle East and others.