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Infiniti Confirmed For Australian Launch In 2012 Photo:
 
 
Tony O'Kane | Mar, 22 2011 | 7 Comments

Nissan has today confirmed that it will bring Infiniti, the Japanese carmaker's luxury division, to the Australian market in the third quarter of 2012.

Three models will accompany the brand's local launch: the FX sport crossover, the G37 coupe and convertible, and the new M luxury sedan.

Infiniti Australia's newly-appointed General Manager Kevin Snell is hopeful that the FX will be available from launch with the full range of powertrains already available overseas.

Among the FX's line-up are the 235kW 3.7 litre petrol V6-powered FX37, the 290kW 5.0 litre petrol V8-powered FX50 and the 175kW 3.0 litre turbo-diesel V6-powered FX30d.

Based on the FM architecture that underpins the 370Z, the FX promises sportier dynamics than other high-end crossovers, and is expected to form the backbone of Infiniti's local line up.

Infiniti has also confirmed that the M sedan will be available as the M37 and M56, with a 235kW 3.7 litre V6 or 313kW 5.6 litre V8 under the bonnet.

In addition to the M30d diesel, the M35h Hybrid is also a distinct possibility for the Australian market, going toe-to-toe with the Lexus GS 450h.

The G37 Coupe and G37 Convertible are built atop an extended version of the Nissan 370Z's platform, sharing its 247kW 3.7 litre V6 engine. Unfortunately for some, it will only be available with a seven-speed automatic gearbox in Australia.

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One model that won't figure in the Australian line-up is the current G37 sedan, which Infiniti's local arm has deemed to be too far into its life cycle to be viable.

Instead, Infiniti will wait until the next-generation G sedan becomes available sometime in the middle of this decade.

Similarly, the smaller Infiniti EX crossover is not slated for an Australian release - at least until its replacement breaks cover. The QX full-size SUV that's sold in North America will be a no-show too, thanks to the unavailability of a RHD model.

Further afield, vehicles such as a production version of the Infiniti Etherea concept and an all-electric EV small car may join the range by 2015, along with the next-generation G sedan and EX crossover.

At launch, Infiniti will have three dedicated dealerships set up in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Although the brand will make use of Nissan Australia's logistic and administrative resources, its dealerships will be completely separate from established Nissan dealerships, offering a personalised, high-end experience for customers.

Infiniti plans to attract buyers from the 30-40 year old demographic to the brand, while also pinching some customers from established luxury players like BMW, Audi, Lexus and even Porsche.

However, it won't be relying on bargain pricing to bring people through its showroom doors, with Mr Snell emphatically stating that Infiniti is “absolutely not going to be Australia’s cheapest luxury brand."

Infiniti Australia CEO Dan Thompson elaborated, hinting that while retail pricing may be more in line with BMW and Audi rather than Lexus, Infiniti's products will offer a higher standard of equipment and specification as standard.

- Tony O'Kane

 
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