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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Infiniti Learns a Bit of German

Tannen Maury/European Pressphoto Agency
Infiniti’s president, Johan de Nysschen, right, with Shiro Nakamura, the chief creative officer for Nissan Motor, at the 2013 Detroit auto show.

By JERRY GARRETT

Published: December 13, 2013


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Since he was hired in mid-2012, Johan de Nysschen, the president of Infiniti, has been leading a comprehensive remaking of Nissan’s luxury brand.

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A largely non-Japanese management team has been brought in, featuring some key executives snatched from German automakers. These include Michael Bartsch, from Porsche, who is now vice president of Infiniti Americas; Mr. de Nysschen himself arrived after serving as president of Audi of America.
Infiniti’s headquarters has moved to Hong Kong from Japan; on Oct. 2, the Infiniti brand became an autonomous subsidiary of Nissan. Plans are well underway to create an entirely new lineup of vehicles; to expand production to North America, Britain and China; and to expand on strategic agreements with Daimler to jointly develop vehicle platforms and powertrains. Infiniti will even share an engine and a platform with Mercedes: The Q50 will eventually get a turbocharged Mercedes 4-cylinder, and a Q30 compact car, currently in development, is based on the new Benz A-Class.
With Infiniti aiming to develop a business model more in line with the ones German automakers have successfully executed, Mr. Bartsch was asked if something of a “Germanification” of Infiniti was underway.
“Infiniti is now free to pursue a separate business model,” Mr. Bartsch said in an interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show last month. “The business model we are pursuing is more closely aligned with the premium luxury segment. The people who do that best are the Germans.”
Henner Lehne, an analyst for IHS Global, said in a recent email: “Fact is, that the three key global premium players in this segment are German, and therefore they are the main orientation point for Infiniti. If they want to grow in the premium segment successfully they need to closely watch what the Germans are doing and maybe adopt here and there certain behaviors.”
But expect Infiniti to pursue exclusivity rather than the sales volume approach taken by the German juggernauts of BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen Group. Mr. de Nysschen, a native of South Africa, says he thinks he can use the Germans’ strengths — their sales growth and expansion into more and more vehicle segments — against them.
“We do not strive to be the biggest,” Mr. de Nysschen said in an email last week. “We strive to be a highly regarded aspirational brand, which is the domain of those who seek a different expression of their personal station in life, than that communicated by the mainstream premium brands.”
He added, “In effect, the definition of exclusivity has come the full circle, back to the original meaning — namely, for the select few, not for everyone.”
Mr. Bartsch said Infiniti would not be among the industry’s so-called “fast followers” who ape the products of the pacesetters. He expects authenticity to be a guiding principle in Infiniti’s engineering and design.
“You have to stand for something,” he said. “You need differentiators. As recently as three years ago, Infiniti was still trying to be all things to all people. That was the brand’s Achilles’ heel.”
Indeed, while Toyota’s Lexus division, which is essentially the same age as Infiniti, has followed a similar path, it has been relatively more successful at it.
Mr. de Nysschen likes to make a comparison among high-end watches — the large Swiss brands Breguet, Chopard, Patek Philippe and so forth — with IWC, a bit of an outlier in that industry.
“IWC also makes very nice, very luxurious, but also somewhat different watches, for a smaller, more defined audience than some of the larger luxury watchmakers,” he said. “Why can’t Infiniti find a niche like that in the premium car market?”

Mr. de Nysschen also rejects the volume-oriented thinking that permeated past product plans, which some have derided as “Nissan-plus” — neither exclusive nor luxurious enough. He has tossed out sales goals of hundreds of thousands of units in favor of building far fewer vehicles, but ones with more substance.
“From that, ultimately, comes volume,” he said. But it may take up to 15 years, he added, to realize his ultimate goals for Infiniti.
Mr. Lehne, the auto analyst, sees an element of danger in that strategy. “In the end, Infiniti has to watch out,” he said, “since the German three are also having strong ambitions and are battling between themselves very hard these days.
“If Infiniti cannot bring the right product to the right place in time, they might go under in that race for global premium leadership.”
 

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took the words right out of my mouth, unless its used, usually there isnt anything "affordable" thats a sports sedan, unless an impreza counts...
 

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Yeah, this is kind of a misnomer but I guess I understand the idea that's being presented..

Everything in general is rising in costs really. People are also getting paid a little bit more, probably not quite on the same scale but ya know...

To be honest, we should worry more about the thinning of the middle class moreso as to really understand what's meant by "affordable".
 

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Those two look so comical in that photo.
 

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de Nysschen is full of sh**. He said that Infiniti will seek exclusivity by not discounting. So why the G is still offered with 4K lower MSRP and there are aggressive incentives on the Q?!
The only thing that was implemented is the German price strategy: offer a low MSRP and charge a lot for every option. Ahh, and to actually move the cars offer $3,200 incentives and subsidized leases.

I'm not complaining, love the great deals on the Q but the marketing BS just makes me sick.
 

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de Nysschen is full of sh**. He said that Infiniti will seek exclusivity by not discounting. So why the G is still offered with 4K lower MSRP and there are aggressive incentives on the Q?!
The only thing that was implemented is the German price strategy: offer a low MSRP and charge a lot for every option. Ahh, and to actually move the cars offer $3,200 incentives and subsidized leases.

I'm not complaining, love the great deals on the Q but the marketing BS just makes me sick.
I'll really be ticked if they start charging for external colors, like MB and BMW. That's the most ridiculous "option" that they have. If you don't want white, plain silver or non-metallic red, you have to pay extra.
 

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The "millions of options" go-to-market strategy is a big reason why my wife and I dislike German cars. We like big packages of options and not adding one-by-one. A few big packages (like Infiniti, Acura, Hyundai) make for fewer unique models to be produced as well, meaning the specific car you want is more likely to be in-stock rather than a special order. (And, as implied by ikagan, for higher-spec'd models the German car pricetag is often higher because you have to add in so many $1000 options, instead of a few larger packages).
 

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de Nysschen is full of sh**. He said that Infiniti will seek exclusivity by not discounting. So why the G is still offered with 4K lower MSRP and there are aggressive incentives on the Q?!
The only thing that was implemented is the German price strategy: offer a low MSRP and charge a lot for every option. Ahh, and to actually move the cars offer $3,200 incentives and subsidized leases.

I'm not complaining, love the great deals on the Q but the marketing BS just makes me sick.
TBH I severely doubt that he's even talking about the Q50, which has the looks and has surface quality to really compete but is still "Nissan-plus" under the skin. The Q50's design was frozen before he even arrived at Infiniti.

The G37 likewise is an old design being sold at a steep discount because it's a placeholder for a smaller, new premium design. That car is not Infiniti's future.

We're not going to see any models to fully embody this new direction until 2015 at the earliest.
 

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TBH I severely doubt that he's even talking about the Q50, which has the looks and has surface quality to really compete but is still "Nissan-plus" under the skin. The Q50's design was frozen before he even arrived at Infiniti.

The G37 likewise is an old design being sold at a steep discount because it's a placeholder for a smaller, new premium design. That car is not Infiniti's future.

We're not going to see any models to fully embody this new direction until 2015 at the earliest.
Makes sense. So if we go back to the watch analogy: Infiniti will base they
platforms on Mercedes just like IWC (and most Swiss watch brands) uses
ETA moments.
 

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Yeah, this is kind of a misnomer but I guess I understand the idea that's being presented..

Everything in general is rising in costs really. People are also getting paid a little bit more, probably not quite on the same scale but ya know...

To be honest, we should worry more about the thinning of the middle class moreso as to really understand what's meant by "affordable".
I don't agree that we have an issue with a "thinning of the middle class". Statistics are often used to push political agendas, and this is no different.

The reason cars are getting more expensive is that automakers are pushing the envelope of what consumers are willing to spend. Modern cars offer incredible amounts of luxury, performance, and expensive technology. People are willing to pay for it.

The issue is that people are now buying more expensive items, then complaining they have less money and a "disappearing middle class". The middle class is only statistically disappearing in a financial sense because the top 10% of wage earners are pushing the bar so high. But "middle class" is often used as a financial term, when it's truly a lifestyle term. Average Americans have more technology and life enhancing advancements than ever before, affordable to just about everyone.
 

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Isn't the new G37 in the low $30's?

The average car price in America is $31,500 - so I'd say statistically the G37 is still an affordable sport sedan. And even the base model Q50 is just a few thousand more than a typical "new car"....
 

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I don't agree that we have an issue with a "thinning of the middle class". Statistics are often used to push political agendas, and this is no different.

The reason cars are getting more expensive is that automakers are pushing the envelope of what consumers are willing to spend. Modern cars offer incredible amounts of luxury, performance, and expensive technology. People are willing to pay for it.

The issue is that people are now buying more expensive items, then complaining they have less money and a "disappearing middle class". The middle class is only statistically disappearing in a financial sense because the top 10% of wage earners are pushing the bar so high. But "middle class" is often used as a financial term, when it's truly a lifestyle term. Average Americans have more technology and life enhancing advancements than ever before, affordable to just about everyone.
The fact that statistics are used to push political agendas does not refute them. We have had a thinning middle class since the 1970s and it is supported by a myriad of statistics, from real median income (individual) that has been stagnant for over 30 years while cost of living rises, to household income, to our third-world income inequality.

No offense, but when you say that the top 10% have raised the bar so high, what do you think they are raising it with? Have managers and executives figured out a way to be many times more productive relative to the employees below them than they were in the 70s? Have they figured out how to make their days 48 hours long? Of course not. They are raising it with an increasingly larger piece of the wealth creation that used to go to middle class families. All the while complaining that the taxes that they are (or aren't, depending on who you're talking about:eek:) paying are too high when our individual rates are at record lows and corporate profits are at record highs.

Everyone has access to technology that didn't exist in some way shape or form. That does not mean that the impoverished are living a quality life by the standards of our time. Poor people living during the Great Depression probably lived better and more technologically-infused lives than people who lived through the Middle Ages. Taken out of the context of time, a statement like that is meaningless.
 

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Makes sense. So if we go back to the watch analogy: Infiniti will base they
platforms on Mercedes just like IWC (and most Swiss watch brands) uses
ETA moments.
I don't know if the Mercedes platforms will extend beyond the Q30. I was fooled by the rumors of the Q50 being on the MRA. The Q70 may introduce a new platform developed by Nissan only for use under Infinitis (no more sharing with the Z), or it could be the MB chassis. We'll have to see. I do think that the FM platform and the VQ are so old that they don't have much time left.
 

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Interesting. I don't think sport sedans were ever affordable.
Well, the term "sport sedan" is extremely broad and can categorize anything depending on a number of factors

I think there are many different types of Sports sedans with various different levels of performance and features that don't necessarily equate to a level of luxury either.

Here's how I look at it:

There is a Performance Luxury sedan which is usually in the entry-level arena between $30k-$40k well equipped price segment.

There's also the Luxury Performance sedan category of higher level sports sedan where I think of cars like a CLS550 or a Audi S6, which is usually in the mid-level arena between $70k-$100k. This is where luxury typically takes first priority.

There's a level between $40k-$60k which is what I consider a pure mid-level Performance category where the luxury and the performance meet neck and neck. The Q50 is where I'd sit this into.
 

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Also MSRP means little when the luxury brands subsidize leases so much with BMW and Infiniti leading the way. We are talking 40k-50k cars with little down and a payment where a typical Camry/Accord is.

It seemed in the past a luxury car was something for a few but today its not that hard to get into an entry level car let alone the new cars built below this class (CLA, CT, A3, etc).
 

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sport sedan was not always synonymous with luxury. There used to be a wide variety of family sedans with big V8s and RWD. You could even consider the 90s PI crown vics a sports sedan but somewhere along the way sports sedan came to mean BMW...

The real issue is not that sport sedans are becoming unaffordable but that they are becoming impractical which is pushing their prices higher. The car buying public is demanding efficiency and small size. Not to mention continued erosion of net energy returns which means that as fuel inputs continue to rise the cost of a sporty drive will also continue to rise until we reach the brink.

The Q50 Bicycle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
sport sedan was not always synonymous with luxury. There used to be a wide variety of family sedans with big V8s and RWD. You could even consider the 90s PI crown vics a sports sedan but somewhere along the way sports sedan came to mean BMW...

The real issue is not that sport sedans are becoming unaffordable but that they are becoming impractical which is pushing their prices higher. The car buying public is demanding efficiency and small size. Not to mention continued erosion of net energy returns which means that as fuel inputs continue to rise the cost of a sporty drive will also continue to rise until we reach the brink.

The Q50 Bicycle.
I dont know if muscle cars were ever considered sport sedans. I think "sport sedan" always meant something more refined than a muscle car.

LOL. Back to this?

 
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