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Infiniti looks to China

Japanese carmaker Nissan is reinforcing its China strategy with a new plant and global HQ in Hong Kong.

Japan’s second-largest automaker after Toyota, is moving its luxury brand operations to meet company goals of challenging its German rivals in China. Nissan will build a plant in central China’s Hebei province and has also moved its headquarters to Hong Kong.

Infiniti logoAndy Palmer, the Nissan executive vice president in charge of Infiniti, believes “establishing our headquarters in Hong Kong, the gateway to China, is an acknowledgement of the centre of gravity in luxury vehicle sales.” The company is also expected to name a new global chief for the Infiniti brand to be named at “a fitting time”.

The Japanese carmaker has also signed an agreement with the Xiangyang municipal government for $315 million to build two Infiniti models under its existing Dongfeng Nissan Passenger Vehicle Co joint venture. Production should start some time in 2014. The signing of the deal also coincides with the Xiangyang plant’s production of the 500,000th Nissan Teana. Nissan sold over 5,000 Infinitis in China last year – all of them imported – and plans to increase these sales by 50% in 2012 as well as building a major new plant.

For the first time in its history, Nissan outsold Toyota to become the top light-vehicle brand in China last year and is now eyeing the rapidly expanding luxury segment. CEO Carlos Ghosn has long earmarked China as a key market for luxury vehicle sales and an essential part of Nissan’s overall trajectory to compete with the likes of BMW, VW and Audi.

Tags: automotive industry, China, Corporate News, Forecasts, Nissan

Published 25th June, 2012

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