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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.

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