There were high hopes for Nissan’s luxury offshoot Infiniti in Australia, but since its launch in 2012, it has failed to make any impression on Australians.
With the brand finally admitting defeat, here’s what to expect from the impending closure of the Infiniti brand in Australia.
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What does this mean for Infiniti owners?
The decision by Infiniti to pull out of Australia has come from its international head office. Infiniti Australia says that the brand will continue as normal until an unspecified date late in 2020.
The brand has five full dealerships and two service centres across the country.
“It is business as usual and we will continue to look after existing owners – along with future Infiniti owners,” company spokesman Tony Mee told WhichCar. “In the near future we will confirm our plans to support customers beyond late 2020.”
For owners of Infiniti cars, the reality isn’t that bad. The majority of its range, including the QX70 and QX80 large SUVs, its Q50 mid-size sedan and Q60 sports coupe, are based on Nissan products, while its Q30 and QX30 baby SUVs are derived from the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.
This means that sourcing parts like oil filters, air filters and other consumable spares will be relatively unaffected.
It’s likely that sourcing parts for Infiniti crash repairs will be handed off to Nissan Australia in the first instance. Infiniti body panels are imported from overseas, so other than having to wait for supply, there should be no issue fixing a crashed Infiniti.
“Beyond 2020, the company is assessing the most effective and convenient way of providing full aftersales service for Infiniti owners in Australia, including service, maintenance and warranty repairs,” claims Infiniti in a statement. “The company will confirm these arrangements in the months to come.”
Why is Infiniti withdrawing from Australia?
The official line is Infiniti is looking to refocus on its two strongest markets: the US and China.
The reality is that Infiniti has sold just 3987 cars here to the end of July 2019 since its launch in 2012. By way of comparison, Nissan has sold close to 400,000 in Australia in that time.
Australia’s car market is one of the toughest on the planet, with more than 55 new car brands vying for consumer attention, and Infiniti simply didn’t have the product, the dealer network or the value to make an impact.
Interestingly, it's actually the second time the brand has withdrawn from Australia. It debuted in 1993 with a single model, the Q45 sedan. A $140,000 price ticket ensured slow sales, and the brand disappeared in 1996.
What happens if I have an Infiniti on order?
“We ask that they speak to the Infiniti Centre where they placed their order,” Mr Mee told WhichCar. “They will be happy to give more information and talk through the options of progressing with or cancelling the order.”
Can you get a deal in a new Infiniti?
Yes, but that's nothing new. The brand has sold a total of 351 cars so far in 2019, while Nissan has sold around 29,000… and it’s fair to say that it’s been possible to get a deal on a new Infiniti for some time.
For example, it moved its Q30 and QX30 range to drive-away pricing after reducing the number of variants, while the Q50 and Q60 are also available at drive-away prices.
Given the lack of demand and a small number of dealers, there won’t be too many Infinitis on sale on showroom floors around Australia.
So, if you don't mind owning an orphan, now is a very good time to buy an Infiniti.
Does this mean the new QX50 mid-size SUV won’t arrive?
“QX50 will not be launched in Australia,” confirmed the spokesperson.
What about Infiniti resale value?
There’s no doubt that Infiniti resale prices will take a big hit in the wake of the news of the brand’s withdrawal from the Australian market.
When Opel withdrew from the Australian market in 2015, the majority of its cars continued to be sold here as Holdens – yet identical Opel-badged versions of those cars consistently sell for 20 percent less than the Holdens.
If you own an Infiniti and were planning to sell it, we would advise you to do it as soon as possible. Or simply run the car for a longer period to amortise the cost. As we’ve mentioned, there will be no issue with buying parts like spark plugs or brake pads for your Infiniti, so why not enjoy it a bit longer?
Will there be any job losses at Infiniti related to the closure?
This is unclear. ”We are working to find alternative opportunities for any employees who are affected,” said an Infiniti spokesperson.