Malcolm Flynn | Jun 6, 2012

Speaking at this week’s preview drive event in New Zealand, Infiniti Australia GM Kevin Snell was quick to assert that the brand will not seek to emulate traditional luxury brands.

Set for its local (re)launch in August, Infiniti's arrival is the result of two years of planning by the local executive team.

The premium brand will use the ‘inspired performance’ tag-line in its assault on Australia's premium market.

Snell is confident that Infiniti's products and ownership experience will distance the brand from traditional luxury brands Mercedes Benz, Audi, BMW, and Lexus.

Launching initially with the M large sedan and FX large SUV ranges, the line-up will soon be joined by the midsized G Coupe and Convertible in late November.

Final specifications and pricing are yet to be confirmed, but both the M and FX ranges will be available with three engine choices from launch.

Powertrain options will include petrol and diesel engines, with the hybrid M35h, and V8-powered FX50 reigning as range-toppers.

Building the brand

Snell acknowledges that it may take up to 10 years to establish the brand in Australia, and that the first attempt with the Q45 full-size sedan between 1993 and 1998 was unsuccessful.

Since then, Infiniti has undergone something of a renaissance, focussing on bolder, more driver-oriented products in the G, M, and FX, and dropping the traditional flagship Q sedan altogether.

This new philosophy is backed by parent company Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn:

"Infiniti is not about what the others are doing. We are not trying to be all things to all people, rather everything to some."

It's this strategy that has moved Infiniti to make another tilt at the the Australian market - a move that will include a new approach to Infiniti’s retail centres.

The three initial Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne centres will take a ‘luxury boutique hotel’ approach to the sales experience, with lounge-like furnishings and fewer display vehicles than the norm.

Described as the ‘Total Ownership Experience’, Infiniti is also keen to drop the traditional hard-sell approach.

The carmaker touts its intended sales approach as ‘customer hospitality’, summarised by Kevin Snell as “You choose what suits you".

Watch for TMR's Infiniti FX and M "first drive" review this week.

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