Renault-Nissan veteran named to lead Infiniti product strategy

Bancon: Key role in launch of Nissan Leaf

Infiniti has named industry veteran Francois Bancon as its product strategy head.

Bancon, 62, has long been involved with Nissan and Infiniti product strategy and product communications, and played a key role in the global launch of the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle. He will take his new post April 1 and will be based at Infiniti's headquarters in Hong Kong.

Bancon's promotion comes as Infiniti plots greater separation from the Nissan brand and repositions its model portfolio for more performance-oriented vehicles.

Bancon joined Renault in 1978 and leads advanced and exploratory product planning for Nissan Motor Corp., a post he has held since 2005.

Over the next five years, Infiniti plans to increase its vehicle portfolio 60 percent and more than double its powertrain portfolio.

The brand also aims to broaden its appeal in Europe among the German-dominated luxury market, and will share a number of models and powertrains with Daimler through the German manufacturer's partnership with the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

Next year, Infiniti will launch a Q30 compact hatchback that is based on a Mercedes-Benz vehicle platform.

Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen said in a statement that Bancon's in-depth knowledge of future product trends will be a key asset "as we continue to craft our future portfolio."

Bancon, a Tokyo resident, moved from Renault to Nissan immediately after the creation of the Renault-Nissan Alliance in 1999.

In addition to his career in automotive strategy, he is an artist and photographer who regularly displays his work.

Bruce Gain contributed to this report.

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