By on October 14, 2013

2014 Infinti Q50

Though Nissan has been selling cars with the Infiniti brand in North America for over two decades, you haven’t been able to buy an Infiniti in Japan. That’a about to change as Nissan will start selling the Infiniti brand at Nissan dealerships in their home market, according to a Nikkei report.


Demand for for luxury cars in Japan has been growing and German nameplates like BMW and Mercedes-Benz may have more cachet in that segment than the more mundane Japanese brands. The first Infiniti branded car to be sold in Japan will be the redesigned Skyline luxury sports sedan. Sales of Infinitis in Japan may start as early as this winter, supplied by a Nissan assembly plant in Tochigi prefecture. The current Skyline is sold as the Infiniti Q50 in North America. For the time being there will be no standalone Infiniti sales channel for Japan, and possible expansion of the brand in Japan will depend on trends in that market.]

Last May, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn set a new profit target for Infiniti, which has accounted for less than 1% of Nissan’s operating profit over the last two years. The Infiniti unit’s profitability has been hampered by the fact that the brand’s cars are mostly exported from Japan, where a strong yen has made it a relatively expensive place to assemble automobiles.

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23 Comments on “Nissan to Launch Infiniti Brand in Japan With New Skyline/Q50...”

  • avatar

    Didn’t Toyota do this with Lexus years ago? I guess for a while Infiniti didn’t want to throw away the name recognition in the Nissan Skyline name so they kept it for years, but yet the Fuga (our M56 / Q70) didn’t have much name recognition. Might as well start anew.

    I don’t see how Japan’s neighbors across the sea, Korea, does it with their cars. They don’t see a need for a luxury brand and have been doing just fine with the Grandeur (Azera), Genesis and Equus. I guess it all depends on how snobbish and brand conscious the consumers are. It looks like the Japanese want to elevate themselves with a luxury brand to go along with their luxury cars.

    • 0 avatar

      The Azera sells like crap, the Genesis sells due to price and having a cheap coupe model, and the Equus still doesn’t sell very many either.

      If Hyundai is serious about doing luxury cars, they will need another brand for it. The creation of Lexus and Infiniti was the absolute smartest move. I would’ve loved to see Toyota still sell the Cressida, because it’s in many ways similar to the Genesis today, but there would be no way Toyota would be taken seriously. The LS400 wouldn’t have had as big of an impact if it had been the Toyota Celsior globally.

      • 0 avatar

        “the Genesis sells due to price”

        – Hmmm, kinda like the Lexus LS460, huh? And esp. the original LS400 (and Hyundai can’t charge for what they don’t offer, a luxury badge and dealer network).

        The Genesis sedan far outsells the cheaper coupe and despite being in its 5th year of sale, outsold the A6, M and brand new GS last year (and that’s w/o having AWD).

        The next gen Genesis sedan even with a significant price increase should hit the 30k mark in sales with the addition of AWD.

        Hyundai might very well need a luxury sub-brand but not the cost of a separate dealer network.

        The Japanese luxury auto industry is already littered with failures – the Q45 (Ghosn though about doing away with the Infiniti brand altogether), the M, the Lexus GS (which Akio Toyoda wanted to cancel), the RL/RLX, etc.

        • 0 avatar

          I just knew you’d be here in no time to respond. Hilariously, you still beat your “Genesis outsells Lexus GS, Infiniti M, Audi A6” blah blah blah, yet ignore the fact that it is cheaper and doesn’t even compete with those cars. The Genesis competes more with the ES than it does the GS.

          The GS is not a failure, sorry to burst your bubble. And Akio wanted to cancel the GS that had been originally designed, not the one that we actually got.

          • 0 avatar

            And what’s even funnier is you (repeatedly) chiming in with the Genesis is cheaper line when that has already been debunked numerous times.

            Sure, the Genesis sedan is cheaper than the competition – that’s the way it goes when it’s the NEW entrant into a segment.

            Seems like you like to conveniently IGNORE the history of the pricing for the LS400 since it was launched with a ridiculously low MSRP of $35k.

            And the LS400 had the fancy badge and dealer network, something that the Genesis sedan does not have – which is why Hyundai can’t charge for it.

            And sorry, one of the big hurdles to sales in the Northeast and Midwest for the Genesis sedan is the lack of AWD on the current model.

            Buyers of FWD and RWD luxury sedans are usually 2 completely different markets, esp. since the Genesis also has the V8 powerplant which the ES does not have (nor the GS now).

            And yes, the GS is a failure when Akio Toyoda had to be talked out of not cancelling the model (did cancel the V8) and when the 4G GS fell a good bit short of sales of the 3G GS for their respective 1st year of sales.

            And we know how sales of the 3G GS fell off the cliff after about its 3rd year of sale, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if we see the same thing happen with the current GS since not only the new Genesis with AWD launches in about that time, so does the new Cadillac CTS.

      • 0 avatar

        84Cressida, I’m referring to the Grandeur/Genesis/Equus sales in the Korean market, not the US. They sell incredibly well in Korea and are everywhere, usually in black.

  • avatar

    If I remember correctly, sales of Lexus cars in Japan aren’t that great either. It’s hard to tell someone that the car you’ve been selling as the Harrier for years is suddenly a Lexus RX, and because of the L badge and the fancy dealership, well you’re gonna have to pay 10-20% more for it.

    • 0 avatar

      The Harrier and RX split up and the Harrier is still sold in Japan. The GS is Lexus’ best selling model in Japan.

    • 0 avatar

      Even with Toyota launching Lexus in Japan (tho they still sell models like the RX as Toyotas), they have a separate luxury sedan lineup with the Crown Series, and the flagship sedan of the Toyota fleet is the Toyota Century and not the Lexus LS.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I bet Infiniti will be at a town near you in Australia.


  • avatar

    These days with globalization it just makes sense (saves money in the long run from advertising to the 20 cents plastic badge). Besides, they can use this re-packaging exercise as an excuse to sell you the same old with a new twist.

  • avatar

    I would have been nice to see a base Skyline continue as a Nissan (e.g. Dodge Charger/Chrysler 300). But this does help cleanup the very crowded Japanese Nissan brand lineup.

  • avatar

    Are we certain the President wasn’t sold as the Nissan Infiniti Q45 way back in the 90s in Japan? Seems like I recall an old commercial as such.

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