Can it be overcome?
The situation definitely could be better at Infiniti these days. In fact, all of Renault Nissan is looking forward to hopefully brighter days. As the global automotive alliance irons out the final details of its major restructuring plan, it's important not to forget about Nissan's luxury division, Infiniti. Earlier this month we reported Nissan has made the strategic decision to revitalize Infiniti by turning it into a "Nissan-plus" brand "in terms of product and technology."
Translation: a likely return to heavily rebadged and restyled Nissans instead of more unique offerings. Hey, it's better than letting Infiniti die completely.
Also this month, Infiniti's new CEO, Peyman Kargar, had his first day on the job and, needless to say, he has some big challenges ahead. Automotive News recently chatted with him about his new gig and his short- and long-term plans. The first thing on his plate? Continue with the product plan he inherited from his predecessors.
His first six months are being dedicated to reviewing the entire Infiniti operation from the ground up with the ultimate goal of formulating a new business plan. But one thing was made clear to Kargar upon his arrival: "To make Infiniti a sustainable premium brand of the company," Kargar said. "Premium brands should bring more money to the company. So that's the objective. We are not at the level we want to be."
Kargar joined Renault back in 1996 and came to alliance partner Nissan in 2017, so he already has a deep familiarity with the company's inner workings and overall structure. Perhaps that's why he's the right man for the Infiniti job. Although Infiniti will use company platforms for future vehicles, "the objective is to use these assets of the company, and then to reinject the money we are saving into the luxury experience and ingredients of Infiniti."
Kargar also admitted the future of rear-wheel-drive models like the Infiniti Q50 sedan and Infiniti Q60 coupe remains undecided for now. One main concern is discontinuing vehicles too soon before proper replacements are ready. Fortunately, Kargar is excited with what Infiniti will soon debut.
"I saw the products - four years of coming products," he said. "They are absolutely great; the technology we are going to put in them is absolutely great. And it's really a luxury experience. We're not going to downsize the brand."