Exclusive: Nissan looks to tap Indian luxury car market with Infiniti Q30

by Sumantra B Barooah 09 Jul 2014

Nissan Motor Company will bring in its Infiniti brand into India and may even consider launching the Q30 luxury compact car – first displayed at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show – here after its global launch in 2015.

In an exclusive interview to Autocar Professional, Andy Palmer, chief planning officer, Nissan Motor Company, suggested that it is ‘inevitable’ that the Infiniti brand would come to India, and for which it would have to be backed by a manufacturing plan.

He added that as the Nissan Group aims to have a 10 percent market share in India by FY’16, in line with its Power 88 growth strategy, having the Infiniti brand at the top end would be part of a plan. Palmer also said he would like to see Nissan’s performance brand – the GT-R Nismo – in India which would have a kind of ‘halo’ impact.

The Q30 Concept which is a blend of three body styles – coupé, hatch and crossover – will target a new generation of premium customers, the company said at the Frankfurt unveil in September 2013. Johan de Nysschen, president, Infiniti Motor Company, said the brand is becoming younger, trendsetting, more relevant and exciting.

Infiniti Motor Company, which is headquartered in Hong Kong, has sales operations in around 50 countries. Its range of premium automobiles is currently built in manufacturing facilities in Japan and the United States. Production in China and Europe is slated to start soon along with the expansion of the brand's portfolio.

Speaking about Datsun in his interview, Andy Palmer said that Nissan is aware that bringing the reborn brand to India would not be easy but reiterated Nissan’s commitment to growing Datsun’s volume here which would eventually account for 50 percent of Nissan’s India sales. He said Nissan is working to enhance the dealer network from 160 outlets to 200 and eventually to 300. In February this year, Nissan parted ways with its local distributor, Hover Automotive. Since the Datsun brand’s launch in late March, it has sold over 7,500 Datsun Go hatchbacks.    

Meanwhile, the compact luxury car segment in India has received a boost with the launch of the Mercedes-Benz A- and B-class, which currently account for 20 percent of the German luxury carmaker’s total sales volume in India and could be next in line to join the portfolio of Mercedes-Benz India’s locally assembled models. The others in the fray in this growing segment are BMW India with its X1 and Audi India with its Q3 compact SUV.

Globally too, the compact premium segment is forecast for significant growth with the entry of young-minded affluent customers.

Video interview with Andy Palmer: http://bit.ly/1tm8TVL