Infiniti Eyes Building Japan Business Within Three Years

Nissan Motor Co. (7201)’s Infiniti said it may set up business in Japan within three years as the luxury unit seeks to build its brand.

“My personal expectation is that we should be able to introduce Infiniti formally to the Japanese market no later than 2017,” Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen said in an interview today in Hong Kong, where the premium carmaker is based. “The brand needs to be there, and we need to have a very clear global footprint.”

While Infiniti already sells the storied Skyline -- also known as the Q50 -- in Japan, it does so through Nissan. De Nysschen, formerly head of Volkswagen AG’s Audi business in the U.S., is pushing for Infiniti to have its own network of dealers as he seeks to emulate the success of his former employer by making Infiniti more autonomous from its Japanese parent.

Separately, de Nysschen forecast global deliveries for Infiniti, which has ambitions to capture 10 percent of the world premium market by 2020, will rise more than 10 percent to a record 200,000 units in the fiscal year ending March as sales in China jump at least 75 percent to more than 30,000 units.

Infiniti is counting on further gains in China next year as it begins building the long-wheelbase versions of the Q50 sedan and QX50 crossover -- tailored for Chinese taste -- in 2014 at Nissan’s Xiangyang plant in central China.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ma Jie in Tokyo at jma124@bloomberg.net; Yuki Hagiwara in Tokyo at yhagiwara1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net Dave McCombs

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