LONDON -- Infiniti believes its new entry-premium car will find a receptive market among young buyers in Europe, but industry watchers say the model faces a tough battle against established rivals such as the BMW 1 series and Audi A3.
Infiniti plans to launch the model within four years to compete in Europe's growing market for small premium vehicles.
Company executives say the car will be different from anything currently available in the premium compact class, not just a smaller version of a conservative luxury car.
Jean-Pierre Diernaz, Infiniti Europe marketing director, believes the model will be successful because it will combine driving performance and an emphasis on style that German luxury brands do not offer.
"The luxury market is dominated by a handful of German players in Europe, but the new generation of buyers is not necessarily interested in their daddy's brand," Diernaz told Automotive News Europe at a press event in London. "There is a need for more-modern luxury models."
Infiniti's Etherea concept car, which was unveiled at the 2011 Geneva auto show, offered an early look at the design of the new model. Diernaz said the car will launch in Europe by 2016, but did not give a firm date.