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Infiniti in advanced talks with UK dealers

Infiniti Europe is in advanced negotiations with multiple dealers about representing the brand in the UK next year.

Infiniti said it was unable to release names of the dealers it is in advanced talks with due to confidentiality agreements.

The prestige brand, owned by Nissan, said the UK will be its second biggest market after Russia.

Infiniti's EX37 coupé crossover, FX performance crossover and G37 coupé and saloon will head for UK showrooms in April 2009.

Infiniti has appointed single dealer representatives for all of its other European markets but has had to choose multiple dealers in the UK and Germany.

Wayne Bruce, Infiniti communications director, told AM in December 2007 that the company couldn’t find a single dealer group capable of launching all the sales points it needed in the UK.

He said Infiniti would take a different approach in the UK and appoint regional expert groups with premium brand experience.

The first European Infiniti centres will open their doors in nine countries from October 2008, including the major markets of France, Spain and Italy.

Six more countries will join the Infiniti stable from January 2009, quickly followed by a further six countries from April 2009, including the UK and Germany.

Major premium retail groups Neubauer Distributeur in France, Bergé Automoción in Spain and Fassina SpA. in Italy will be joined by Beerens Group in Belgium, AutoBinck Holding NV in the Netherlands, Sarenne Motors in Switzerland, PGD Group in Poland, IND Commerce in Bulgaria and Nic.J.Theocarakis S.A. of Greece have all officially signed up to the Infiniti franchise.

Collectively, each of the dealer groups has experience representing Ferrari, Bentley, Maserati, Rolls-Royce, BMW, Jaguar, Volvo, Audi and Volkswagen.

Jim Wright, vice president, Infiniti Europem, said: “Establishing a new Infiniti retail network from the ground up is an exciting challenge.

“With our partners we see a huge opportunity to provide customer care unlike anything else offered in Europe today. We will actively engage with customers’ lifestyles, not just their cars, to provide them with a Total Ownership Experience (TOE).”

TOE is a core part of Infiniti’s business strategy and will be something UK dealers will have to embrace when the new brand goes live next year.

Infiniti outlined its explanation of the TOE: “TOE is a promise to customers that they can buy their new Infiniti in a welcoming, modern and no pressure environment with expert advice, and enjoy a worry-free ownership experience thereafter.

“Dealership architecture will be energetic and modern, with an accent on natural materials and open lighting. All European Infiniti Centres will be modelled on a lobby-lounge-gallery concept more akin to a luxury hotel than a traditional car showroom, with space dedicated to each model in the range to enhance the browsing experience.”

Phased European roll-out of Infiniti brand:

Phase 1 – nine countries from October 2008
France - Neubauer Distributeur
Spain - Bergé Automoción
Italy - Fassina SpA.
Belgium - Beerens Group
The Netherlands - AutoBinck Holding NV
Switzerland - Sarenne Motors
Poland - PGD Group
Bulgaria - IND Commerce
Greece - NIC.J.Theocarakis S.A.

Phase 2 – six countries from January 2009

Sweden - Hedin Bil AB
Estonia - Fakto Grupp
Latvia - Fakto Grupp
Romania - AutoItalia Group
Israel - Carasso Group
Czech Republic - AutoBinck Holding NV

Phase 3 – six countries from April 2009

Germany - Multi partners
United Kingdom - Multi partners
Republic of Ireland - Windsor Group / Yorkland (Q3 2009)
Lithuania- Fakto Grupp (Q3 2009)
Finland - Autokeskus Oy (Q1 2010)
Slovakia- Autobinck Holding NV (Q1 2010)

G37 Coupe (Audi A5, BMW 3-series Coupe rival) G35 sedan (Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3-series, Audi A4 rival) FX (BMW X5 rival)
EX concept (BMW X3 rival) A recently completed US Infiniti dealer

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