In a recent interview, Nissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer revealed that Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn considered killing off Infiniti.
Speaking to Wards Auto, Palmer said that Ghosn told him "We don’t need Infiniti, we just don’t need that brand." Ghosn added, "We don’t have to do Infiniti, you can cancel it if you want."
Instead of killing the brand, Palmer decided to keep it and push for more autonomy from Nissan. In his view, Audi is only premium brand that isn't plagued by being owned by a mainstream manufacture. As he explained, the distance between Audi and Volkswagen has allowed them “to create a series of professionals that understand the premium market in a very premium way.”
This eventually led Nissan to appoint former Audi USA chief Johan de Nysschen as Infiniti's president. In order to lure the executive, Infiniti had to partner with Daimler, relocate their offices to Hong Kong and green-light the Q50 and JX crossover.
Since de Nysschen's arrival, he has encouraged Infiniti to become less about volume and more about becoming a 'proper' luxury brand.