Stop us if you’ve heard this before. An automaker makes a lofty sales projection and says it will hit said target in about five years. Then, a few months down the road, said automaker dials those projections back a little bit to temper expectations (which is also slang for keeping pie off your face). This is exactly what Infiniti did, announcing that it planned to nearly triple sales in the next four years early last year. That’s no longer the case, as de Nysschen admits that goal, under the current state of Nissan’s luxury arm, is a bit far-fetched.
“I’m under absolutely no illusion–500,000 cars by 2017 is an inordinately ambitious challenge,” de Nysschen said to Automotive News. “We really do have to get our heads around how we can bring the brand in that direction.”
To spur Infiniti in the direction of growth, de Nysschen and Co. have dumped money into building production facilities in China and England. This strategy partnered with the launch of some new models is what Infiniti is banking on to boost sales. However, the automaker has said that it won’t just push product out the door to hit those sales figures. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out as Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn took de Nysschen from Audi last year with promises of a rapid expansion. Originally, Ghosn tabbed de Nysschen to move 500,000 units annually for Infiniti by 2017. In 2012, Nissan’s luxury arm only managed to move 170,000 units.
This also means putting plans for an electric vehicle on hold. Infiniti hasn’t killed off the idea of an electric vehicle; in fact it’s very much the opposite. The real problem here is when it will be released, according to de Nysschen speaking with Automotive News. Infiniti is looking to expand its sales numbers quickly, and, put simply, an EV won’t do that. Back at the 2012 New York Auto Show, Infiniti pulled the wraps off a five passenger LE concept electric sedan, which was slated to be released to the public in 2014. Now, Infiniti says those plans are on hold for the time being.
“There has been no formal decision yet within the company to give the project the green light and let them start with investment,” de Nysschen said of the EV to Automotive News. “In my evaluation of our business strategy, I introduced a whole bunch of additional considerations.”
This could hurt Ghosn’s estimate of Nissan, Infiniti, and Renault moving 1.5 million EVs by 2016. Making matters worse, the automaker has already burned through billions of dollars to make this goal a reality. So far though, these brands have only managed to muster to move 100,000 units.
Needless to say, de Nysschen is between a rock and a hard place with this one.
What say you? Should Infiniti press forward with an EV? Was it smart to roll back its estimated sales numbers? Sound off in the comment section.