NEW YORK - With last week's relaunch of the G20 name, Infiniti Division has completed its product shift to serve the lower half of the luxury market.
'The entry-level luxury market is exploding,' said Infiniti General Manager Tom Orbe at the New York auto show last week. 'This is the perfect time to bring back the name.'
The G20 was dropped about two years ago because of slow sales. But Infiniti chose to revive the name for the new model, which is based on Nissan's European Primera, because the old G20 model had an 80 percent ownerretention rate.
Although sales were slow, customers who bought the old G20 loved it, Orbe said.
The new model goes on sale this August at a price under $25,000, he said.
The target buyer for the new model is 25 to 45 years old and has a household income of $80,000. Orbe expects women to account for half of the G20 sales.
The G20 is powered by a 140= hp four-cylinder engine driving through a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual.
A sporty G20t version equipped with low-profile tires, viscous slip differential and standard fog lights also is in the cards.
Orbe said Infiniti will spend heavily on national advertising to launch the G20, but also will use local celebrities to entice potential buyers into showrooms to get a look at the new sedan.
In Detroit, to illustrate one example, the division plans to use Detroit Lion running back Barry Sanders as a celebrity draw.