The Nikkei [sub] says that Nissan will move the (or a) headquarters of its Infiniti brand to Hong Kong, and that Nissan “will begin manufacturing Infiniti-brand vehicles in China as early as next year, becoming the first Japanese automaker to produce luxury cars in that nation.”
Not so fast, say close-to-the-matter contacts in Yokohama.
While it is true that a corporate HQ for Infiniti will be opened in the pricey and tony Special Administrative Region of China, announcements of Chinese production of Nissan’s luxury brand are premature, say my contacts. The need to move production of a higher bracket brand to China is not as pressing as the making of a mass mobile in the Middle Kingdom. Loaded Chinese buyers often insist that their car is imported. They know exactly which Audi, BMW, or “Benz” is made in China, and which comes from abroad.
Toyota’s Lexus brand so far has balked at Chinese production.
If the HQ plans become reality, Infiniti would be the only global automaker that is headquartered in Hong Kong.
The Nikkei picked up the rumors on the sidelines of Nissan’s quarterly results conference in Yokohama today. There, Nissan announced lower, but still estimate-beating results, and plans to make 4.75 million units in the current fiscal, instead of the planned 4.6 million. Nissan up-revised its forecast for North Amercia to 1.35 million vehicles, up from 1.33 million. In the China budget are now 1.25 million vehicles sold, up from 1.15 million in previous plans.