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Is There Trouble Ahead for Nissan and Infiniti?

Editorial / 112 Comments

Carmakers have just lost two top executives who were tried and true gearheads.

We had our hopes up for some time regarding the future of Infiniti; and Nissan for that matter. Not so long ago it recruited former Audi of America executive Johan de Nysschen to run and revitalize Infiniti. He's the guy behind the GT-R-powered Q50 Eau Rouge. His Infiniti turnaround plan seemed to be going quite well. Then in July, de Nysschen announced his resignation to become President of Cadillac. Industry watchers were surprised, to say the least. And just this past week, another high-profile Nissan executive has jumped ship.

Andy Palmer, Nissan's Chief Planning Officer who had been with the automaker for 23 years, will soon take over duties as Aston Martin's new CEO. Palmer was a major player at Nissan and his departure is considered a big blow for the company. So what does the future hold for Nissan and Infiniti, specifically regarding their high-performance and enthusiast models? Hard to say at the moment. Both men left with several projects already in the works, which will now be seen through to completion by others. But the problem is that both Palmer and de Nysschen were real car guys and excellent top-level management executives. That's a rare combo these days.

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They knew how to run things and to push cool cars into production. They have engineering backgrounds and can relate to all aspects of production. The list goes on. Are they replaceable? Yes, but no so easily. In the meantime, we'll be keeping a close eye on the development of the next-gen Z-car, GT-R and the rest of the revitalized Infiniti lineup.