SHANGHAI – Asia’s top auto show began Saturday with some 1,300 models went on display in the Chinese financial capital, and premium brands lined up to tap growing sales opportunities in the world’s largest car market.
On the sidelines of the Shanghai auto show, INFINITI President Johan de Nysschen spoke with the Global Media Center on the importance of the Chinese market to the premium brand’s expansion and localized production ahead.
Global Media Center: China will be both a key sales and production market for INFINITI ahead. What’s the likely trajectory of expansion?
Johan de Nysschen: Clearly, we want to leverage the strength that we have developed in the US and develop China as a second volume hub for the brand. Just to show we mean business, we are coming into the market quite aggressively, with very rapid expansion of our dealer network and also a big announcement at the show – our confirmation of local production for the Chinese market with the long-wheel base versions of the Q50 and the forthcoming QX50 crossover.
In terms of the overall volume development, quite clearly we have ambitious targets. You don’t start producing cars locally if you have low aspirations. But our primary focus and importance must be building brand. Building brand ultimately will bring the volume.
Global Media Center: Here in Shanghai premium brands are elbow to elbow. How will INFINITI set itself apart?
De Nysschen: I think firstly if we pick up on the story of brand, we’ve reached a convergence now globally on a single-minded positioning of INFINITI as a brand. We want to present INFINITI as the seductive alternative in the premium sector. Our illustrious German competitors tend to be a little cold and clinical. INFINITI wants to be warm and humane, exciting high-technology, but we want to do it with flair, a little bit of temperament, a little bit of attitude.
So, through that we have crystallized this positioning as a seductive alternative, with our premium brand values built on four key posts: Performance – clearly a high-performance brand; Passion – really expressed by almost obsessive attention to detail and that’s what drives us in whatever we do, whether it’s the cars with it engineering, or performing our daily tasks to do it to a level of execution that’s without equal; Precision – which relates quite clearly to the product, in terms of the craftsmanship, the engineering, the technology, the finish; then Provocation – we want to disturb the equilibrium, we want to provoke, we want to use the strength of the three leading brands almost against them, and to provide With INFINITI, a really appealing, really aspirational, really highly emotional alternative in the premium space. That’s what we’re about.
Global Media Center: Pulling back to Hong Kong, the headquarters of INFINITI, your executive team is nearly set. What do you see ahead?
De Nysschen: For me, it’s kind of hard to imagine it’s been eight relatively short but action-packed months, since we started on this fantastic journey. The top executive team is largely in place now, with a very diverse group of very skilled professionals.
This will add significant firing power to our organization, we are now busy in working on the transition of responsibilities from Nissan to the INFINITI organization, we’re building out the team, we’re building out the organization globally, we’re getting the regional orientation right and this really sets us up well to develop also a unique INFINITI culture that’s just steeped in premium-ness, where we can live out our values, and take INFINITI where it wants to be.
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