Infiniti QX80 to help seize sales
Infiniti Cars Australia is expecting around a 20 percent lift in sales volume for its facelifted QX80 upper-large luxury SUV that enters showrooms this month with an unchanged starting price.
The Japanese-built SUV was one of only two models to grow volume substantially last year in Infiniti’s stable, moving from 61 units in 2016 to 85 in 2017, while Infiniti sales overall dipped from 807 to 776 between those calendar years.
It was the first time the car-maker has not achieved growth since its local debut in 2012.
Infiniti will continue with a $110,900 plus on-road costs price-tag for the mechanically unchanged, but lightly facelifted QX80, avoiding the trend set by Nissan in 2015 when it culled the price of the Patrol TI-L – on which it is based – by $27,500 to $86,990, although the facelifted version has since risen to $88,990.
However, Nissan Cars Australia managing director Stephen Lester, whose company oversees the Infiniti Australia operation, has committed to achieving substantial growth from the low-volume model and insisted that it was an important part of the Infiniti line-up locally.
“I don’t think we would ever commit to specific numbers, but obviously we want to see sales over 100 units next year,” he said, speaking on behalf of Infiniti Cars Australia managing director Chang-hwan Lee who was unable to attend the national media launch of the QX80.
“Sales of the past few weeks have been pretty strong from our retailers across the country, again in this segment when we’re talking about the volumes we have currently, it’s not a significant number in the grander automotive sphere, but it’s very significant to us,” he said.
“As a brand halo, as a brand shaper in the luxury segment, this vehicle offers probably the biggest refresh of a model that I’ve ever seen, when you think of an Infiniti and what has been done to the front, to the rear and the interior without being an all-new model.
“It’s a much more leather ensconced package. Much of the centre stack has stayed the same… but it’s bringing the level of luxury up in the vehicle with those finer and softer touches. Certainly it brings it in line with all the brand features from an Infiniti standpoint.”
Mr Lester said he hoped the QX80 would help Infiniti turn its sales slide around this year and end with positive growth.
Communications around the QX80 will be boosted this year, and interest from new rivals in the upper-large SUV segment will be leveraged.
While the Lexus LX570, Mercedesbenz GLS and Range Rover were viewed as key competitors, the pricier Bentley Bentayga was also listed as another rival.
“When you consider what this segment represents and how wide it is… why you would include Bentley in that, well this is a humungous segment not just in physical size but also who that customer is and I think certainly the presence of the vehicle establishes the vehicle as a force to be reckoned with in this segment,” Mr Lester said.
OFF-ROAD IN STYLE: Infiniti’s QX80 large SUV will blast into showrooms this month from $110,900 before on-road costs as the luxury brand’s most expensive model.