Nissan Motor's Infiniti luxury brand is heading way south. The company will begin sales in Australia starting in 2012, according to the company. Infiniti, which topped luxury imports in growth numbers last year in the U.S. market, is heading to the continent after having expanded into Western Europe, Asian markets and South America.
The company says that beginning in the third quarter of 2012, there will be "Infiniti Centres" in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The first vehicles to hit the continent will be Infiniti FX crossover, G37 convertible and coupe and M sedan.
"As Infiniti emerges as a global luxury brand and expands its worldwide market coverage, the Australian market is an obvious next step," said Andy Palmer, EVP for the brand. Appointed to the new job of general manager for Infiniti Cars Australia is Kevin Snell, who had been global sales and marketing executive at Saab Automobile and more recently, a senior product planner at Nissan.
Infiniti says it is building a marketing team for the continent comprising people from the auto sector as well as the consumer goods area: Andrew Millar, sales and marketing manager, formerly of Swatch; Mark Grier, digital marketing and CRM, formerly of BMW Group; and product and sales planning manager Zac Loo, formerly of Mercedes-Benz are among the new staffers for Australia.
The automaker said it is pairing retail car sales with a financial division called Infiniti Financial Services, based in Victoria, and focused on corporate and individual credit and leasing.
Among the brand's global marketing programs is its tie-in with Formula One racing, a deal made earlier this year. Infiniti now sponsors Red Bull Racing for this and next season. Infiniti's global footprint expanded into Canada in 1990, the Middle East in 1996, Taiwan in 1997, Korea in 2005 and Russia in 2006. In 2007, Infiniti opened in the Ukraine and China. In 2008, the brand expanded into Western and Central Europe, as part of which it has added 19 new markets.