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Infiniti in talks to set up 14 outlets for 2009 launch

Premier car brand Infiniti is in talks with one major retailer partner and several smaller partners regarding its UK sites.

Nissan’s luxury sister will launch in the UK in April 2009. There will be 14 points of sale, shared between five or six partners, with one holding more sites than the rest.

Dealerships will be around London and in major conurbations ensuring national leverage. Angus Gray, Infiniti regional director North Europe, said: “It’s about the quality of partner, the premises and the location of premises.

“It’s important that sites are highly visible and easily accessible. The majority are new builds on green and brown field sites.

“Externally, they are very contemporary and will feature windows that partly reveal cars through patent glass.

“It will be like walking into a hotel lobby. Customers stay a lot longer in an informal dealership,” Gray added.

Investment for franchisees will be similar to other premium brands and training will be at all levels.

“Everybody working at a dealership will go through the same process. We want them to see it from the eyes of the customer – if you haven’t experienced it you can’t relate to it,” said Gray. He acknowledged that Infiniti’s European launch would be better with a stronger economy, but continued to say that the segment was growing and that other premium brands do exceptionally well.

Reluctant to talk sales target, he said the UK launch was about ‘establishing the brand first and foremost.” However, Infiniti expects to sell 25,000 units in Europe by 2013.

Infiniti buyers will be “enthusiastic drivers who are looking for something different”, he said. “Infiniti will never be a volume car. They will always be rare.

“But the British are receptive to new cars as we have seen with Lexus. We expect it to be our biggest market after Russia eventually.”

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