Infiniti names ex-Mazda exec to head key European markets
FRANKFURT -- Infiniti has named Christian Blank its director for Germany and three other key European markets as the carmaker gears up for a major sales push in the region led by a new premium compact to rival the Audi A3 and BMW 1 series.
Blank, 39, also takes responsibility for Austria, Switzerland and Poland. His main missions will be developing the presence of Infiniti in the region and driving the performance of its dealers, Infiniti said in a statement.
In the next three years Infiniti plans to open 45 new retail outlets in Germany; five in Switzerland; three in Austria and three in Poland to support its growth ambitions.
Blank was Mazda's director of European fleet operations before joining Infiniti. A German national, he reports directly to Guillaume Pelletreau, Infiniti's head of sales in Europe.
As part of its push to boost sales in Europe, Infiniti plans to launch a premium compact car in 2015. The compact, based on the Etherea concept unveiled at the 2011 Geneva auto show, will be called the Q30, according to reports.
Christian Blank joins Infiniti from fellow Japanese carmaker Mazda.
Infiniti will produce 60,000 units of the car for global markets at Nissan's plant in Sunderland, England.
After studying business and management, Blank began his professional career in 1999 as a strategy consultant for Roland Berger specializing in the auto industry. In 2003, he oversaw the establishment of an Asia headquarters in Tokyo for the Industrial Investment Council, a governmental organization that promotes investment in Germany.
Blank joined Mazda Germany in 2007.