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Infiniti finally on the way south

Brighton bling: Infiniti’s first Melbourne dealership – and third in Australia – will look like this architect’s rendering when it is completed in late February.

Third Infiniti dealership under construction for February opening in Melbourne

10 Dec 2012

WORK has started on Infiniti Cars Australia’s third dealership, with the Melbourne retail showroom and service centre scheduled to open its doors at the end of February.

The former Peugeot site in the high-profile Nepean Highway ‘golden mile’ dealership strip in Brighton has been gutted in readiness for the fit-out for large Victorian vehicle retail group Preston Motors.

Infiniti dealerships have already opened in Sydney and Brisbane, with the latter beginning full on-site sales at the Fortitude Valley showroom only last weekend.

Melbourne sales have already started behind the scenes, with Infiniti Brighton staff answering calls and offering test drives to prospective customers.

Infiniti planned to start operations in the three east coast capitals as close as possible to the target-on-sale date of September.

Roll-out plans in the southern capital hit a speed hump earlier this year when original signing, Penfold Group, handed back the Melbourne franchise.

 center imageFrom top: Infiniti Australia's Kevin Snell Infiniti Centre Brisbane interior of Infiniti Sydney.

Rival Preston Motors stepped into the breech, but the delay meant Melbourne was without a retail site when the brand – Nissan’s answer to Toyota’s Lexus – went live in September with stocks of Japanese-made FX large SUVs and M mid-size sedans.

To the end of November, 76 Infinitis have been registered locally, and that includes an initial batch of 12 Infiniti G37 Coupes and Convertibles that were added to the line-up last week.

Infiniti Cars Australia general manager Kevin Snell said his company planned to begin talking with prospective dealers in Adelaide and Perth in the first quarter of 2013, with the objective of finalising representation in those cities by the end of the year.

He said that if customers in South Australia and Western Australia wanted to buy a vehicle from an east coast dealership in the interim, Infiniti would arrange service by flying a trained Infiniti technician interstate to do the work.

Mr Snell said the next priority after Adelaide and Perth would be large regional centres such as the Gold Coast, Newcastle and Canberra, along with second dealerships in Sydney and Melbourne.

By 2015-16, the plan is to add more regional centres such as Geelong, Wollongong and Cairns.

“By 2016-17, we hope to have 90 per cent representation of the luxury market,” he said.

Infiniti plans to expand the current three-model line-up to seven within the next couple of years, with additions including the new-generation G sedan – a BMW 3 Series competitor – coming in late 2013 and, probably, an all-electric sedan using technology from Nissan’s Leaf.

The Infiniti G range is Infiniti’s biggest seller in North America, where it is offered in three body styles – sedan, coupe and convertible.

In Australia, Infiniti elected not to include the sedan at launch as the new model is only months from global launch, while the coupe and convertible have about two years still to run in the current shape.

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