Infiniti Moving HQ Back to Japan in 2020
Nissan Motor Co.’s Infiniti unit says it will move its headquarters from Hong Kong, where it has been located for seven years, back to Japan in mid-2020.
Nissan says the move will enable greater synergies between Infiniti and Nissan, which is based in Yokohama, Japan. This includes further integrating research and development, design and manufacturing operations as both companies focus increasingly on next-generation electrified vehicles.
The relocation also reverses a strategy of ex-CEO Carlos Ghosn to distance Infiniti from the mainstream Nissan brand for the sake of enhancing its luxury-car credentials. He envisioned Infiniti becoming a major player in China and wanted its headquarters to be closer to that market. About 180 employees currently work in Hong Kong.
Ghosn also set a goal that Infiniti would capture 10% of the global luxury car market by nearly quadrupling its sales to 500,000 by this year. Infiniti’s worldwide sales last year totaled less than half the targeted volume.
Infiniti says it will continue to prioritize its largest markets—North America and China—while expanding in eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. At the same time, the unit is ending production at Nissan’s Sunderland, England, plant and plans to discontinue sales altogether in western Europe by early next year.
On the product front, Infiniti plans to launch several SUV/crossover vehicles in coming years, including five in China by 2024. As it expands its hybrid and EV options, the company is dropping diesel-powered models.
The company’s top management also is in transition. Earlier this month former Infiniti president Christian Meunier left the company after just four months on the job to become president of Fiat Chrysler Automobile NV’s Jeep brand. Christian Vandenhende, who is Nissan’s chief quality officer, is serving as acting head of Infiniti until a new president is selected.
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