Infiniti Sales Slump Leaves Brand Stumped
Infiniti’s sales took a tumble in September, dropping 44 percent (43.9 percent, to be exact) compared to September 2018.
Last year, Nissan’s luxury brand sold 12,536 units in September, while just 7,031 units left dealer lots this time around. The brand is also down 16.5 percent over the first nine months of the year.
Bigger picture, the industry has been hit by six months of sales declines in 2019, and all large automakers, Asian or American, were facing large drops (double digits, in many cases) in September. The good news for the industry is that the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) checked in around 17.16 million units across all brands – a healthy number despite the sales declines.
Like everyone else, Infiniti had to deal with a September 2019 containing two fewer selling days than last year. Not to mention that Labor Day weekend was divided between August and September this year, with the Saturday of the holiday weekend falling in August.
Infiniti and Nissan are responding to the sales slump by continuing the automaker’s streamlining push, cutting back on incentives and fleet sales. Earlier this year, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa declared the company had hit “rock bottom,” and last month’s U.S. sales did nothing to alleviate that impression.
Other luxury brands aren’t feeling quite as much pinch. Lexus sold over 18,000 units, while BMW and Mercedes-Benz were over 27,000 units. Cadillac and Acura cleared the 10K mark, while Lincoln and Land Rover also out-sold Infiniti.
Every Infiniti model was down year-over-year, even the new for last year QX50, which dropped 51.1 percent.
It’s hard to say exactly what ails Infiniti, though some product (Q70) is getting long in the tooth and the large land-barge QX80 is also getting up there in years. Meanwhile, the small QX30 took a huge hit in sales (over 83 percent), as the Mercedes-based crossover awaits death as the brand exits the Western European market.
Aging and dying product don’t typically attract buyers. The slump of the QX50, which offered new engine (variable compression) and driver-aid tech is a bit more mystifying, as the vehicle launched in early 2018. It’s still a relatively fresh model.
In recent months, Infiniti has left Western Europe behind (Infinexit?), relocated its HQ from Hong Kong to Japan, and brought in a new head of global design. None of this has changed the sales picture.
What’s next for Infiniti is unclear, but surely Nissan is working to reverse this trend.
Crispy Spicy Tuna Roll on Oct 08, 2019
For anyone still interested in buying or leasing an Infiniti product, despite the laments here, make sure you negotiate at least 20-30% off the MSRP. The Infiniti brand has gross depreciation in year 1. Buyer beware. Last thought for now. The Kia Soul (yes, that's right -- that wonky, tiny car that looks like a toy) has substantially nicer infotainment graphics than Infiniti's QX60. I sat shotgun in a friend's Kia last weekend and could really appreciate just how BAD Infiniti's infotainment really is. Let alone comparison's to BMW, Aydi and Mercedes. I'm talking about Kia. KIA! It just feels like Nissan has given up on this. Out of Australia. Out of Europe and getting crushed now in North America. Do not pay anywhere near MSRP!
JLGOLDEN on Oct 14, 2019
Competition is fierce and the alternatives are overwhelming for the average new car buyer. In the mild luxury realm we have Lincoln's new mojo, the presence of Genesis, and even Cadillac's new mating dances. So how does Infiniti play ball? Dodge manages to move ancient product with aggressive ad campaigns and image-boosting burnouts. But can Infiniti peddle old product and prop up a luxury vibe?
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