You May Be Looking At The Price Of A Chinese Infiniti. Or Not

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
you may be looking at the price of a chinese infiniti or not

Fuelled by Nissan’s decision to move the HQ of it’s Infiniti brand to Hong Kong, rumors of an impending Chinese production of the upscale marque would not end. In November, while not denying the story out of hand, spokespeople in Yokohama indicated that announcements of Chinese production of Nissan’s luxury brand were premature. Today, China Daily has an interesting twist on the story: A trucks-for-luxury cars swap.

Citing a Chinese Newspaper, China Daily writes:

As part of the plan, Nissan Motor, which makes commercial vehicles and passenger cars in a 50-50 partnership with Dongfeng, would stop making medium-to-heavy duty trucks at the venture, the Economic Observer said on its website, without identifying the source. Dongfeng would in turn back an option to make Infiniti as well as Renault cars at its existing venture with Nissan, it said.”

China Daily was unable to receive confirmation for the unusual trade-in.

Given a cooperative Dongfeng, Nissan should have no problem making high quality Infinitis in China. After all, if BMW, Daimler and Audi can do it, why not Nissan? In July, Carlos Ghosn had declared in Beijing:

“In addition to China being home to the largest volume facilities in the Alliance, it is also home to the best performing plants. Based on our global ranking system that measures quality of production and products, our plants in Huadu and Xiangyang rank first and second against 34 other plants in the Alliance.”

Dongfeng is owned by China’s central government. In the luxury sector government sales are key in China. But why the swap? A foreign company may only have two joint ventures in China. For a Chinese company, there is no limit to its promiscuity. In addition to Nissan, Dongfeng already has JVs with Kia, Honda, Renault’s rival PSA, and more. Why not simply add Volvo?

Update: On further checking, Reuters had reported a week ago that Volvo and Dongfeng plan a JV, and that Nissan would pull out of their current truck JV with Dongfeng. We don’t follow trucks. The only new wrinkle is that Infinitis and Renaults will be made. Renault and Dongfeng have been together for years. The Infiniti story is months old. Book it as another Chinese fire-drill in a country with more than 100 carmakers.

Update to the update: Reliable contacts at Infiniti HQ in (still) Yokohama confirm that no deal has been struck (yet) for Infiniti production in China. They have no knowledge of the swap described in Chinese media.

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  • Theflyersfan As a kid, a neighbor had one of these full-sized conversion vans with the TV and wet bar in the back. And it was so cool to go in - as a kid it was, driving it had to be terror at times with blind spots, iffy power and brakes, and the feeling that you're hauling your living room with you! Kids of the 1970s and 1980s had this experience. Afterwards with minivans and then CUV everything, not so much.And I'm crushed that a 1977 van doesn't have some kind of mural on the sides. Coyote howling at the moon, American flag, Confederate flag, bright stripes, something! You can't have a 1970's era van with plain sides! At least a "Don't Laugh. Your daughter's in here" bumper sticker on the back. I always get a Gacy or Bundy vibe with these vans...
  • Jeff S In the EV market Tesla is not a niche player it is the major player. According to the latest data of the California-based vehicle valuation and automotive research company  Kelley Blue Book, Tesla has the lion’s share with 75 percent market share in  the electric vehicle market in the first three months of 2022.Tesla has dominated the electric vehicle market for years in the United States. The electric vehicles manufactured by Tesla accounted for 79 percent of the new electric vehicles registered in the United States in 2020 and 69,95 percent in 2021. The decrease in the market share in 2021 might be explained by backlogs and the global chip shortage, but the company is ramping up its sales and has already increased its market share to 75 percent in the first quarter of the year. According to Kelley Blue Book, the top 10 EVs sold in the US in the first quarter of 2022 are;[list=1][*]Tesla Model Y[/*][*]Tesla Model 3[/*][*]Ford Mustang Mach-E[/*][*]Tesla Model X[/*][*]Hyundai Ioniq 5[/*][*]Kia EV6[/*][*]Tesla Model S[/*][*]Nissan Leaf[/*][*]Kia Niro[/*][*]Audi e-Tron[/*][/list=1]Tesla has delivered 310,048 vehicles in the first quarter of 2022, another first-quarter record. The success of Tesla is proven once again as the company has three electric cars in the top 10 most selling electric vehicles in the United States, while no other manufacturer has even two different models on the list.Tesla leads all others, selling slightly over 936,000 units in 2021. This gave the company a market share of nearly 14%.Mar 30, 2022https://interestingengineering.com/transportation/tesla-ev-market-75-percent-market-share
  • Jeff S I did not know Plymouth had a full size van prior to the mini vans. I did know about the Plymouth pickups and the Trail Duster.
  • Arthur Dailey When I grew tired of the T-Bird trying to kill me by refusing to start at the most inconvenient times/places, I replaced it with a '79 fullsized Dodge (Sportsman) van. Similar to this but with a different grille and rectangular headlights. The 4 'captains' chairs in my van were pretty much identical to the ones in this van. Mine certainly was not as nicely finished inside. And it was a handful to drive in snow/ice. One thing that strikes me about this van is that although a conversion it does not seem to have the requisite dark tint on the windows.
  • Jeff S I am not a fan of Tesla and they were niche vehicles but it seems that they have become more common. I doubt if I get an EV that it would be a Tesla. The electrical grid will have to be expanded because people over the long run are not going to accept the excuse of the grid can't handle people charging their EVs.
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