GENEVA – Infiniti's new-car sales in western Europe will nearly double this fiscal year due to new models and new powertrains, a top executive said.
"In 2011, western Europe will be somewhere between 7,000 and 8,000," Infiniti Europe Vice President Jim Wright told Automotive News Europe in an interview at the auto show here last week.
He said the Nissan luxury brand would finish its 2010 fiscal year on March 31 with about 4,500 new-car sales in western Europe.
The automaker is counting on the new models to lead its sales increases. In the past 12 months, Infiniti has launched the all-new Infiniti M sedan as well as diesel versions of the EX and FX crossovers. This spring, an M35h hybrid will join the range, giving the automaker three powertrain alternatives.
Wright also predicts a strong sales increase for Russia, where the fiscal 2011 volume should rise to 7,000 to 8,000 compared with about 6,000 in fiscal 2010.
"That means 2011 should be the first year were western Europe and Russia are balanced," Wright said.
Infiniti debuted in Russia in 2006 but waited two years to launch in western Europe.
Wright said that Infiniti will continue to rapidly expand its dealer network, boosting its presence in western Europe to 60 outlets by the end of fiscal 2011 from 40 in fiscal 2010. That amounts to one new dealership opening every 18 days.
By the end of this year, Infiniti plans to have five dealerships in Moscow as new stores are scheduled to open in April and November. The company has a total of 14 stores in Russia and Ukraine and wants that number to rise to 19 or 20 by end of its next fiscal year.