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 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.
January 25, 2013 3:17 pm
 fantaka fantaka
the only way that infiniti survive the competition is by reducing their prices adopting a reduced price cutting tech in their fleet!
January 25, 2013 5:43 am
 KheirFrancis 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?
January 25, 2013 4:05 am
 Maotsi 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.
January 25, 2013 12:50 am
Would have been a sad day if they did.
January 25, 2013 12:32 am
 Kakumbaz 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..
January 24, 2013 11:03 pm
 benzboy 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
January 24, 2013 7:09 pm
 pzxpjy 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.
January 24, 2013 6:45 pm
 slim 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.
January 24, 2013 6:39 pm
 DBaskov 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.
January 24, 2013 5:26 pm
 Dude von Dudenstein 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.
January 24, 2013 5:23 pm