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Infiniti struggles in its search for UK dealership

The UK is proving a tough proposition in Infiniti Europe’s plan to grant exclusive representation to one dealer in each country.

“We’ve not found a single dealer group capable of launching all the sales points in the UK,” said Wayne Bruce, communications director.

“We’re adopting a different strategy. Rather than having a single dealer group we’re talking to regional expert groups with premium brand experience.”

Nissan Motor GB franchising director Angus Gray has joined Infiniti Europe as regional director for UK, Eire, Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

He’ll head retail network development and sales and marketing in build-up to the premium brand’s launch.

Infiniti Europe poached Lexus GB national aftersales manager Steve Penson for the role of customer quality manager. Penson had been with Lexus since 1999 and established its aftersales operation, including introduction of the LexusCare programmes which put it head of the JD Power customer satisfaction index.

Gray’s team also includes former BMW UK 3 Series product manager Greg Eastwood, who has been appointed product manager for saloons and coupés.

Bruce said Infiniti’s roll-out in Europe is scheduled to begin in October 2008, following the unveiling at March’s Geneva Motor Show. France, Spain and Italy are likely to be first recipients, with cars on sale in the UK in spring 2009.

Inifini has allowed two years for the roll-out. It wants to establish more than 10 dealerships in the UK, but Bruce said it was likely to begin the UK launch with one or two sites in key metropolitan cities.

Outlets will apply Infiniti’s IREDI (Infiniti Retail Environment Design Initiative) global corporate identity, which Bruce described as aiming for a luxury hotel feel, with a lobby, sales lounge and product gallery. Adaptable to dealers’ needs, IREDI gives the dealerships a distinctive image and uses glass and natural high quality materials such as wood, stone and slate in soft, curved shapes.



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