Alternative power is all set to drive Britain’s newest luxury car brand to spectacular sales growth.
A choice of petrol-electric hybrids and the world’s first compact electric luxury saloon promise to propel annual registrations of Infiniti models toward the 10,000 mark by 2015 – a stark contrast to its 2009 UK tally of 100 sales.
The Japanese brand aims to step up its challenge to German premium manufacturers with an all-electric four-door saloon in 2013. Sharing its technology with the Nissan Leaf, the car will offer greater power, increased range and boast ‘dialled up’ components tailored to the luxury market.
The company will also introduce a second C-segment model as a direct rival for the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series.
To be previewed in concept form at March’s Geneva Motor Show, it will be the first front-drive Infiniti and will reach the showrooms in 2014.
“Our research shows customers don’t want to buy Japanese copies of premium German cars, so our concept will preview a take on styling unlike anything else currently in the segment.
We’re confident it will open up significant opportunities,” Infiniti Europe spokesman Wayne Bruce told AM.
The car will come with the option of petrol or diesel power, but a petrol hybrid version is in the pipeline to follow this year’s launch of the first Infiniti hybrid, the M35h.
“UK tax legislation favours the hybrid, and we think this car will be significant because it is a no-compromise model – the luggage space is sufficient to carry four sets of golf clubs.
“We see it as a keen competitor in the chauffeur market, which has not so far proved too receptive to hybrids.
"Our greenest model will also be our fastest with acceleration from rest to 62mph in 5.5 seconds.
“The recent agreement on power units between the Renault-Nissan alliance and Daimler gives us access to a new range of four cylinder petrol and diesel engines.
"Adding these to our line of M cars and maybe the next-generation G model range will make a huge difference.”