Japanese premium marque Infiniti’s struggling local sales have culminated in its top brass deciding that the Australian market just isn’t a hill worth fighting for any longer, ending a run that began in 2012 to tackle the more entrenched luxury offerings from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi.
In 2019, though, the competitive landscape for Infiniti doesn’t look much rosier with a resurgent Volvo now in a position to swipe customers to the Swedish fold, the South Koreans advancing their battle lines with Genesis, and Lexus proving to be a very tenacious adversary in their own right. In the face of this, a strategic retreat seems the most sound move.
Reportedly, this brand is to hold the line until some time in late 2020 with dealers and service centres given notice that the Nissan luxury sub-brand will cease imports following a steady decline in sales over the past 12 months and beyond.
For some context, Infiniti has sold roughly 4,200 cars in the past 7 years they’ve been operating in the Australian market compared to the 4,050 cars Mercedes-Benz Australia is said to have sold in June 2019 alone.
Infiniti’s current line-up consists of cousins the Q50 sedan and Q60 coupe alongside the Mercedes-Benz-based Q30 and QX30 hatchbacks. More niche are the large Patrol-based QX80 and sporty QX70 SUV, a model that’s due to be supplanted locally by the much newer QX50.
Pegged as a crucial addition to the arsenal, it nicely fills the small-to-medium crossover demand while introducing an innovative new engine with the world’s first production motor with variable compression ratios. However, the QX50’s local introduction has faced multiple delays.
The decision to withdraw comes on the heels of a larger departure from markets in Western Europe with the brand keen on focusing on its core growth regions of North America and China where the brand has experienced steady sales and expects to yield higher profits.
For current owners of Infiniti cars, the company’s Australian arm assures customers that they are committed to fulfilling their obligations and are to confirm details on the continuity of maintenance, warranty and other after-sales support in the months to come.