Infiniti expects its European sales to explode in the coming years in what it calls a “big bang.” Driving the growth will be two new compact models designed and built in Europe: the Q30 hatchback and QX30 crossover. Infiniti’s Europe chief, Francois Goupil de Bouille, spoke with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Nick Gibbs about the growth plans for Nissan’s premium brand.
What are your sales hopes for the Q30 in Europe?
Infiniti has an annual production capacity of 60,000 units in Nissan’s Sunderland, England, factory. Half of the production will go to Europe. The Q30 was developed, engineered and designed in Europe, which is its target market. But we will also be happy to sell this car in the U.S. and China.
Does that 60,000 capacity in Sunderland include the QX30 crossover?
When will the Q30 and QX30 go on sale?
The Q30 will be available starting late this year and the QX30 is expected in 2016.
What will these two cars do for Infiniti in Europe?
They will make a big bang. Compact premium cars are by far the biggest premium segment in Europe. About 2.4 million premium cars are sold annually in western Europe and 1.2 million are compacts.
German premium brands BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi dominate Europe’s premium compact car segment while Toyota’s Lexus brand has struggled. How will Infiniti succeed?
We are not just looking at what Lexus is doing. We have made an in-depth analysis of the segment and how to get the most innovative and credible alternative. Customer testing has been very positive.