Latecomer Infiniti Hopes Its Local Plan Pays Off in China

on February 17 2015 | in Auto | by | with No Comments

Infiniti, Q50L, China, Dongfeng Motor Group, luxury sedan, Chinese auto market,

Though Infiniti was a latecomer to the Chinese auto market, the company believes its new strategy will make it a player in China on par with BMW, Mercedes, and Audi.

The Japanese luxury automaker is banking on its strategy to produce vehicles locally and the launch of its brand building campaigns in China to reach a goal of 100,000 vehicles sold in the country per year by 2018, reports China Daily. The company expects the locally produced models to account for more than half.

The brand has seen a steady rise in China, seeing sales increase in 2014 to 30,046 units, up 76 percent from the previous year.

Infiniti’s locally produced models, the Q50L sedan and the QX50 SUV, are produced jointly by Infiniti’s parent company Nissan Motor Co. and China’s Dongfeng Motor Group in Xiangyang.

The Q50L sedan, which was introduced last year, will compete head-to-head with BMW’s 3 series, Audi’s A4L, and Mercedes’ C-Class.

The company will begin importing a larger sedan, the Q70 model, in the second half of 2015 to compete with BMW’s 5 series, Audi’s A6L, and Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class.

The company’s second China-produced model, the QX50 SUV, will be introduced in the first quarter of this year with a campaign featuring Chinese actress Zhou Xun. The SUV will compete with Audi’s Q5, BMW’s X3, and Mercedes’ GLK.

“We have great confidence that the two locally made models will help us grow sales rapidly this year,” Dongfeng Infiniti Motor Co. president Daniel Kirchert said.

Dongfeng Infiniti executive vice president Lei Xin commented that Chinese customers’ desire for “cutting-edge and personalized” products will help the brand thrive in China.

To build brand awareness in China, Infiniti launched its cross-platform marketing campaign, “Gan Ai,” which roughly translates to dare to love. The campaign builds brand awareness through the sponsorship of online games, TV programs, clothing, cartoons, family driving tours, and sports education. To kick off the campaign in June of last year, the car maker sponsored the popular Chinese show Where Are We Going, Dad?.

“We will let customers enjoy the appeal of Infiniti as the most emotional premium brand through activities ranging from our products, networks, services to our corporate social responsibility work,” Kirchert told China Daily.

Infiniti’s move to produce luxury vehicles locally continues the trend of other luxury automakers. In China, 55 percent of Mercedes-Benz vehicles sold are locally made, and it plans to increase that to over two-thirds.  BMW, Audi, and Jaguar Land Rover have also found success with their made-in-China models.

Though luxury spending in China this year is expected to continue to slow, luxury vehicle sales in the country are predicted to rise 15 percent, almost double that of the overall passenger vehicle market.

image source: infiniti china

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