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Beijing show: Infiniti stretches the M

Limo-lite: Infiniti will release the long-wheelbase M LWB in China, but not in Australia.

Infiniti unveils long-wheelbase version of M luxury sedan in China

23 Apr 2012

INFINITI has unveiled a long-wheelbase version of its M luxury sedan at Auto China 2012 in Beijing this week as the Japanese brand works to significantly boost its presence in the world’s biggest auto market.

Following the announcement late last week that it will build two still-to-be-named models in China from 2014 at facilities operated by parent Nissan’s joint-venture partner Dongfeng Motor, Infiniti has confirmed that the stretched M will be available from June in M35hL 3.5-litre V6 hybrid and M25L 2.5-litre normally aspirated versions.

Not on the agenda for Australian release, the LWB M – which is set to take on BMW’s Chinese-market long-wheelbase 5 Series sedan and other European rivals – is billed as the “first high-end Infiniti luxury sedan tailor-made for Chinese customers” and rests on an extended 3050mm wheelbase, up from the standard model’s 2900mm.

The extra length has liberated more room in the rear compartment, where extra high-end creature comforts are also built in, such as entertainment displays, heated and reclining power-operated seats, window sunshades and separate audio and air-conditioning controls.

16 center imageThe rear doors and boot also have an automatic closing mechanism.

Nissan executive vice-president Andy Palmer said the long-wheelbase M “strikes a perfect balance between outstanding performance and environmental sustainability and brings a new challenger to China’s premium-car market”.

Infiniti also showed its Emerg-e sportscar concept in Beijing this week, along with its mid-size G series, and FX, QX and EX SUVs.

The brand is currently in the midst of a dealership expansion program in China, and expects to have around 90 dealers covering the major cities by the end of 2012 – a year in which it hopes to achieve more than 25,000 sales in the Chinese market.

Later this year, Infiniti will roll out ‘Flagship Plus’ outlets in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and other cities.

As GoAuto has reported, Infiniti will launch in Australia in August with just three dealerships – one in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – and three model lines: M, G and FX.

Mr Palmer described the company’s production commitment and other expansion activities in China as important milestones for Infiniti’s growth strategy, which includes a global sales target of 500,000 units by 2016.

“Local production in the world’s largest automobile market is not an option but a necessity to our success,” he said.

The general manager of Infiniti’s China Business Unit, Allen Lu, said the brand was “carving out a new ‘challenger’ image”.

“We blend uniqueness with tenacity in everything we do – these are the foundations on which Infiniti builds its differentiation from others,” said Mr Lu.

“Along with China’s economic rise, we are delighted to see the emergence of a new generation of luxury car buyers: individualists who don’t accept mediocrity, buyers who are looking for new luxury brands with substance as well as style.

“This is where our greatest opportunity lies in China.

“Our roots in China are growing ever deeper. We are committed to China and to our growth here.”

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