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Nissan almost killed off Infiniti - report

 Nissan almost killed off Infiniti - report
2014 Infiniti Q50

Brand had to become more autonomous to survive

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.

Source: Wards Auto via Jalopnik

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Comments (35)

AlikMalix
I've been saying this for years... Why not just build a Rear Wheel Drive Nissans and Toyotas? Why call them a completely different brand just for that? I know, I know, that they have a few shiny parts and a chrome piece here and there, but still everyone knows it's a Nissan and a Toyota (or Acura is just a Honda). I think consolidating it all under one roof, will make a better product, more organized, less redundant. See, BMW doesn't call it's models something else when it decides to build a Front Wheel or All Wheel Drive, unnecessary. Toyota done it both ways Lexus for extra chrome and Scion for extra plastic. Nissan wants Datsun back just so they dont get associated with cheap (Datsun are going to be cheap for the 3-world countries - it's a good thing). Just my 2-cents.
Jan 25, 2013 3:17 pm
0 1
autoficianado
...BMW until recently called their front wheel drive vehicles by a different name, they called them MINI. BMW and Daimler are only making small FWD cars now due to fuel efficiency laws. The reason mass market automakers create a different brand for their "premium" brand is because they can charge more and make more profit per vehicle for a "premium" brand.
Jan 25, 2013 7:31 pm
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AlikMalix
But MINI was a company they purchased, like VW purchased Bugatti. But I agree with "premium" just to charge and extra buck for essentially the same car with rear wheel drive...
Jan 26, 2013 1:31 pm
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fantaka
the only way that infiniti survive the competition is by reducing their prices adopting a reduced price cutting tech in their fleet!
Jan 25, 2013 5:43 am
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KheirFrancis
Nissan is out of there minds if they think that Infiniti's are not one of the hottest, fast, bad-ass luxury cars on the market. Infiniti has what no other luxury brand has, Luxury and appeal meets speed, best looking interior's, sexy designs, high performance, and innovation. And with the BS that Nissan has been putting out lately minus the Maxima and GTR, 370Z, Infiniti is well needed to make them look good on the luxury side, plus more selection when wanting a more attractive, better performing Nissan vehicle. I'm all for going green, but not at the expense of axing one of the top 10 luxury brands in the US. Nissan/Infiniti should remain one, it baffles me how this even crossed their mind to axe Infiniti, what are they thinking?
Jan 25, 2013 4:05 am
1 1
Maotsi
Wow!!! Being alligned to a mainstream manufacturer has its own advantages. Rolls Royce would probably be dead had it not been for BMW and the same goes for Jaguar and Land Rover who are under Tata.
Jan 25, 2013 12:50 am
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MutantSushi
BMW is a premium manufacturer, and Jag/Rover may be doing well under Tata but the previous owner Ford is another case. Of course, Ferrari has been owned by FIAT for quite awhile and has done fine, although that may not really be the 'premium' category being discussed as much as luxury sports cars.
Jan 25, 2013 4:22 am
1 0
ACN
Would have been a sad day if they did.
Jan 25, 2013 12:32 am
1 1
Kakumbaz
It seems a lot of brands look up to Audi for inspiration. Am glad that I'm not the only one who sees Audi for what it really is, which is an autonomous premium brand within the Volkswagen group. Lately Lexus too is becoming autonomous, it now has the freedom of making it's own decisions (without Toyota's interference) and that is becoming evident because many of the cars Lexus is making now differ significantly from Toyota's own cars in appearance, quality, and feel (for example the new GS and IS models). Acura's strong ties to conservative Honda are affecting it's evolution and slowing down it's growth. I believe that Infiniti stands a better chance of making great, amazing and unique cars by pulling farther away from Nissan's influence. Associating with Mercedes Benz (which is one of the worlds best premium car makers) isn't a bad way to start..
Jan 24, 2013 11:03 pm
0 1
ElioBorrero
How would you call AUDI autonomous from VW when they SHARE 44% with VW, hey those are numbers from VW and posted here in this webpage, the word "autonomuos" and "sharing 44% with VW" does not mean "autonomuos" to me,all Audis from the A1 to A6 and the Q3 etc share a LOT with VW, now BMW is "autonomous" and just months ago AUDI asked permission to VW to build a plant in Mexico... is that "autonomous" ? I know is NOT..
Jan 25, 2013 3:02 pm
2 0
Kakumbaz
..
Jan 25, 2013 11:44 pm
1 0
benzboy
IMO... Nissan does not need Infiniti. Because, Infinti is nothing more design wise than glorified Altima's and maybe Maxima's with dolled up interiors. No Heritige.goodbye infinity
Jan 24, 2013 7:09 pm
2 6
pzigly
Infinity's are not glorified altimas, they are all rear wheel drive, the difference between both cars are huge, the sound, the looks, the luxury, the sport tuned suspension, the materials, the options the car comes with, you cant compare an altima with an E class, you can compare the M with an Eclass
Jan 24, 2013 7:21 pm
4 4
schizo
The M (or whatever it is now) is a glorified Japan market Fuga and the Q(or whatever it is now) is a Cima. To be honest with you it doesn't even have dolled up interiors as an Infiniti when compared to its Nissan variants. Infiniti interior quality is appalling. A Mercedes interior feels more luxurious (and trust me I currently own 3 Mercedes and our family has had atleast one in the garage since 1988...and Mercedes interiors don't look luxurious when compared to the likes of BMW or Audi...but it ages well) What Infinit needs is definitely more autonomy and atleast a different parts bin from Nissan AND make the added feautures look LESS of an after thought than what it is. Have you seen the placement of some of the function buttons on the FX? It's as if they decided that they need to add that function to make the car "more luxurious" and decided to slap that button on an empty spot on the dash or instrument panel. But the engines are great.
Jan 25, 2013 1:29 am
3 1
pzigly
I have no clue what ur talking about when it comes to infiniti interiors lasting. I had a 96 infiniti bought in 2004, it didnt even have a crack in the driver seat, when i replaced the radio in that car, the wood grain around the radio was a half centimeter thick piece of real wood. one time i went to a junk yard and saw an old Q45 junker, i went inside to check out the interior and it looked like it had just came out of the factory. The infiniti you were looking at was probably never taken care of. I will admit the benz interiors do last and are made of better materials but older infiniti's still keep well too.
Jan 25, 2013 2:39 am
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pzigly
I had a 96 infiniti J30 and the interior of that car never had a crack in the dash or in the leather, not even the driver seat had a crack, mercedes has a great interior too. When i went to replace the head unit in my infiniti the wood grain around the stereo was about 3/4 of a centimeter thick, all wood, not fake.
Jan 25, 2013 10:24 pm
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benzboy
your reply to my post is ridiculous. The M does not compare with the E class on any level. You could make that statement if the M ever came close to the sales number of E class. Again Infinity Gloried Altimas No Heritige.
Jan 28, 2013 2:48 am
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MutantSushi
right, that's what nissan's ceo said. nobody's said that they need infiniti.
Jan 25, 2013 4:22 am
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pzxpjy
Infiniti moved its headquarter to Hong Kong in order to better understand Chinese market. Last year Audi sold 400,000 units in China, BMW has 320,000 units, Jaguar Land Rover did 73,000, but unfortunately Infiniti sold only 16,000. Well, Chinese market is one of the core markets for premium brands. Infiniti failed to become a mainstream here. That's a pity as they do make great cars. I often recommend Infiniti to my friends and relatives.
Jan 24, 2013 6:45 pm
1 0
pzxpjy
More data: Last year Lexus sold 64,000 here. Acura only did 2,300...
Jan 24, 2013 6:49 pm
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sensei
Well, do any of you think that since Infiniti is a JAPANESE brand that this might have something to do with the difficulty in moving product?
Jan 25, 2013 5:17 am
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MutantSushi
maybe, but lexus did much better and is also owned by a japanese mass market manufacturer. bmw, mercedes, and audi are by far the leaders of this segment world-wide, not just in china.
Jan 25, 2013 6:46 am
2 0
slim
Soooo let me get this straight. Nissan had to team up with former competitor Daimler (Mercedes Benz), they had to relocate offices to Hong Kong, AND they had to green light the JX, and the Q50 just for de Nysschen to take a job at Infiniti?? Are you effin kidding me? Is this guy the Phil Jackson of the Automotive world? Is his play calling that valuable? I've never heard of him before, and the only thing hes famous, err notorious for is changing Infiniti's established names to a confusing, lazy, and stupid naming system by calling everything a Q. Is this for real? Infiniti did all that for this guy, and he comes in and almost destroys the brand by killing off the G series? The economy isnt at its best, but c'mon this is just wasting valuable money on some stiff who is trying to convert Infiniti into a wanna be Aston Martin brand. What did he do over at Audi that has Nissan on his nuts? As far as I see, he likes everything to be monotonous. Same name for every model, same front end on every Audi. Same overall profile between sedans. You cant tell the difference between the A4, A6, & A8-just look at the commercials. He must have walked into Nissan with Suge Knight and Math Hoffa demanding he be president right now! While he was over at Audi, they released a commercial and actually had an S550 Benz in it. Bad move, because it made me want a Benz even more compared to the boring looking Audi. THIS is the guy Infiniti sold their souls for? Good luck. BTW I'm not a fan of the Q, and I think now is the time for me to withdraw my stock in Infiniti, and look for a more stable manufacturer with real names for their vehicles and not names sounding like sections of a law enforcement rule book. Turn to page A6, article Q50 clearly states.... lol and to think Nissan almost killed Infiniti, well what do you think de Nysschen is doing? He already neutered the brand in his first month on the job. How much are they paying him by the way? Obviously way too much for the type of Seasame Street ABC, 123 leadership he displays.
Jan 24, 2013 6:39 pm
1 5
MutantSushi
fyi, the readers's attention tends to drift off half-way thru a wall of skreed like that that just repeats itself and doesn't seem to make any incisive points. word for the wise.
Jan 25, 2013 4:18 am
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DBaskov
Wow, well at least Infinity will be given a proper treatment now. Hopefully this autonomy will work out for Infinity. I was getting a little curious about Infinity since they have a small line-up and overpriced/underperformed performance models.
Jan 24, 2013 5:26 pm
3 1
Dude von Dudenstein
"Audi is only premium brand that isn't plagued by being owned by a mainstream manufacture." Does Ghosn know of the existence of Lexus? Good thing they didn't kill it, I love Infiniti.
Jan 24, 2013 5:23 pm
4 3
pzigly
lexus is owned by Toyota
Jan 24, 2013 5:33 pm
1 1
Dude von Dudenstein
Yes of course. I know that. Isn't Toyota a mainstream manufacturer in your opinion? Or are you misinterpreting my point? :)
Jan 24, 2013 5:47 pm
2 2
pzigly
Yes Toyota is a main stream manufacturer, and lexus is owned by them so Lexus is plagued by being owned by a mainstream manufacturer
Jan 24, 2013 7:13 pm
2 1
MutantSushi
and? the nissan comment is just weird, you could supposedly consider that audi is the only premium marque not somehow damaged by being owned by a mainstream manufacturer (ignoring ferrari, etc), but the existence of BMW and Mercedes which aren't owned by mainstream manufacturers to begin with, and thus can't be damaged by that fact, just makes the claim seem stupid. especially when those are the marques that anybody wanting to succeed in the premium car segment should be comparing themselves to.
Jan 25, 2013 4:15 am
3 0
ValdesArtHouse
I'd not go as far as "plagued", but there are obvious similarities between Audi and VW. Nevertheless, Nissan/Infinity are clones, down to the poor lasting interior quality. Look at any 3 year old Infinity and you see cracked interior plastics and worn steering wheel, among other things.
Jan 24, 2013 7:40 pm
1 1
DavidShakhbazian
BMW is the only brand not owned by a mainstram manufacturer, Audi is owned by VW.
Jan 24, 2013 8:53 pm
4 0
NenadMitrovic
Mercedes too.
Jan 24, 2013 9:16 pm
3 0
DavidShakhbazian
And Toyota owns Lexus.
Jan 24, 2013 8:54 pm
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gooniz
every one knows that audi is owned by VW. only (Benz And BMW) are considered premium brands.
Jan 25, 2013 4:21 am
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