Infiniti Sales Slump Leaves Brand Stumped

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.

[Image: Infiniti]

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  • Crispy Spicy Tuna Roll 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 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?

  • Arthur Dailey For the Hornet less expensive interior materials/finishings, decontent just a little, build it in North America and sell it for less and everyone should be happy with both the Dodge and the Alfa.
  • Bunkie I so wanted to love this car back in the day. At the time I owned a GT6+ and I was looking for something more modern. But, as they say, this car had *issues*. The first of which was the very high price premium for the V8. It was a several thousand dollar premium over the TR-7. The second was the absolutely awful fuel economy. That put me off the car and I bought a new RX-7 which, despite the thirsty rotary, still got better mileage and didn’t require premium fuel. I guess I wasn’t the only one who had this reaction because, two years later, I test-drove a leftover that had a $2,000 price cut. I don’t remember being impressed, the RX-7 had spoiled me with how easy it was to own. The TR-8 didn’t feel quick to me and it felt heavy. The first-gen RX was more in line with the idea of a light car that punched above its weight. I parted ways with both the GT6+ and the RX7 and, to this day, I miss them both.
  • Fred Where you going to build it? Even in Texas near Cat Springs they wanted to put up a country club for sport cars. People complained, mostly rich people who had weekend hobby farms. They said the noise would scare their cows. So they ended up in Dickinson, where they were more eager for development of any kind.
  • MaintenanceCosts I like the styling of this car inside and out, but not any of the powertrains. Give it the 4xe powertrain - or, better yet, a version of that powertrain with the 6-cylinder Hurricane - and I'd be very interested.
  • Daniel J I believe anyone, at any level, should get paid as much as the market will bear. Why should CEOs have capped salaries or compensation but middle management shouldn't? If companies support poor CEOs and poor CEOs keep getting rewarded, it's up to the consumer and investors to force that company to either get a better CEO or to reduce the salary of that CEO. What I find hilarious is that consumers will continue to support companies where the pay for the CEOs is very high. And the same people complain. I stopped buying from Amazon during the pandemic. Everyone happily buys from them but the CEO makes bank. Same way with Walmart and many other retailers. Tim Cook got 100m in compensation last year yet people line up to buy Iphones. People who complain and still buy the products must not really care that much.