Nissan has filed to trademark "Selection by Infiniti" in the US.
Nissan's premium Infiniti brand didn't have the best of years in 2019. For instance, US sales slid an astonishing 21 percent last year for the brand, with a dramatic 38 percent drop year-over-year for the month of December alone. To that end, we wouldn't be surprised if the brand began exploring other avenues of business. Which, as we've discovered, it kind of is.
CarBuzz has just uncovered evidence that Infiniti could be looking to launch its own vehicle subscription service, similar in mentality to Volvo Care, BOOK by Cadillac, Porsche Passport, and numerous other OEM-managed services. How do we know? Nissan filed to trademark the name "Selection by Infiniti" with the US Patent and Trademark Office earlier in the month.
The trademark filing describes a mobile phone app "for scheduling, planning, organizing, managing and providing the temporary use of motor vehicles." It's not clear from the filing's language whether Infiniti is more interested in short- or long-term vehicle rentals, but the word "leasing" does come up, leading us to believe that the service will at least include long-term rentals.
Car subscription services have proved tricky for automakers to get right. They commonly bundle several major expenses - the cost of the vehicle lease, insurance, and maintenance and repair work - together into a single monthly payment, but it's proven difficult to get the math right. Cadillac, for example, suspended their expensive BOOK service due to a shortage of cars and high operating costs.
Stories like Cadillac's have served as a rude awakening for automakers who saw subscription services as the perfect product for a market seemingly more comfortable with renting than in generations past. Such services have been seen as an achievable means of providing customers greater convenience and flexibility with their vehicle needs; you could commute to work in an Infiniti Q50 all week long, and then trade up to a QX80 for a weekend getaway. Or so the theory goes.
In actual fact, vehicle subscription services have proved tricky to get right, although services like Volvo Care and Porsche Passport are proof that they can be made to work, especially with premium brand customers. Who knows? Selection by Infiniti could be the big break that the premium Japanese brand is looking for.