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May 19, 2008

SWITZERLAND: Infiniti Europe launches internet ‘reservation list’

Nissan's luxury Infiniti brand has launched an internet based ‘reservation list’ ahead of its first 'official' deliveries in Europe from October 2008.

Nissan’s luxury Infiniti brand has launched an internet based ‘reservation list’ ahead of its first ‘official’ deliveries in Europe from October 2008.

Visitors to enter personal details and are allocated a personal reservation number. This is forwarded to the closest dealer who will contact the potential buyer before pre-ordering opens, inviting a ‘priority’ order. The list is open until 30 September.

Infiniti Europe marketing director Bastien Schupp said about 10,000 people have already signed up.  “We’re pleased to see that excitement and anticipation are building even faster than we expected,” he added.

The first European dealers will open in nine countries, including France, Spain and Italy, from next October. Dealers in six more countries will open in January 2009 with a third phase scheduled for another six countries, including the UK and Germany, from April 2009.

Nissan claims Infiniti will “redefine” European customers’ “experience of buying and owning a performance car” but its initial range of four crossover,  coupé and sedan models has only 3.7-litre V6 (developed specially for Europe) and five-litre V8 petrol engines with relatively high CO2 emissions (several EU markets now have CO2-based vehicle tax regimes) and fuel consumption to contest a demanding and highly competitive European market in which more economical diesels currently dominate.

Infiniti said each model would be tailored for European customer expectation and “demanding” European driving conditions but initial volume is likely to be limited until a 3.5-litre V6 turbodiesel engine option, developed with Alliance partner Renault, arrives around 2010.

Company officials who presented the range to the media at a recent event in Portugal acknowledged this, but said they were confident exceptional dealership and customer service standards would win conquest business from rival brands.

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