Nissan says new entry-level Infiniti is in the works

Nissan says new entry-level Infiniti is in the works

Automotive News reports Japanese automaker Nissan is planning to introduce a new Infiniti model in 2014. The entry-level Infiniti will be assembled by Austrian manufacturer Magna Steyr and will further serve to expand the luxury brand’s presence in Europe and other key markets.

Nissan has made no secret of expanding its market presence across the globe. The Japanese automaker has been busy undertaking various strategies to help achieve that goal. Last week, the Renault-Nissan alliance announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Avtovaz, a move which, among other things, would further establish Nissan’s presence within Russia’s automotive industry. Prior to that announced, Nissan also announced it was resurrecting its Datsun nameplate as a budget brand for emerging economies.

Infiniti Etherea Concept Doors Open

Nissan’s wheeling and dealing didn’t begin there, though. Back in 2010, Renault-Nissan and Mercedes parent Daimler announced a strategic cooperation between the two companies. With that agreement in place it now looks like the company will cash in on that partnership, with sources telling Automotive News Europe that Nissan wants to toll out an entry-level car worldwide to help win a 10-percent share of luxury market.

While Nissan has refrained from providing any specifics, this new Infiniti is said to be based on the Mercedes’ MFA compact platform that is currently used in the new A- and B-class cars. In addition to shared underpinnings, the new Infiniti is also said to feature Daimler components including Mercedes-Benz four and six-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines. Conservative estimates suggest as many as 50,000 to 60,000 units of the new Infiniti could be built a year at Magna Steyr’s plant in Graz, Austria.

Infiniti Etherea concept rear lights

Of course we still have no idea what this new entry-level Infiniti will look like once all is said and done. Our best bit of sage-work would have it looking like the Etherea concept (pictured) Nissan previewed at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show sans electric powertrain, and rear-hinged suicide doors.

Nissan’s plans with its Infiniti brand are nothing short of ambitious. The company started selling its luxury nameplate in Europe in 2008 but failed to penetrate a market that is already being dominated by German rivals such as BMW, Audi, Lexus, and even Toyota’s Lexus luxury division. Still, Nissan shows no signs of letting of the gas, and through its strategic partnership with Daimler will help reduce overall development costs while Mercedes will receive licensing fees for each car manufactured in addition to benefitting from economies of scale.

Either way, we’ve certainly enjoyed many of the designs coming out of the Infiniti camp as of late, and we hope that trend will continue with the luxury marquee’s latest.

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