DETROIT -- Over the next four years, Infiniti will add at least four additional vehicles with new engines and transmissions, on top of renewing every existing nameplate in its U.S. lineup, says the company's top executive.
Johan de Nysschen, president of Infiniti Global Ltd., told the Automotive News World Congress on Tuesday that the accelerated expansion of the brand's vehicle and powertrain portfolio is, in part, facilitated by parent Nissan Motor Co.'s strategic engine-sharing deal with Daimler AG.
The new arsenal of vehicles will help Infiniti realize its goal to become a global top tier luxury brand, de Nysschen said. The Infiniti 2014 Q50 sports sedan, unveiled at the Detroit auto show, is the "first salvo," he added. Infiniti is Nissan's luxury brand.
"Our vision is simple: to secure permanent membership in the exclusive premium automobile club, a club that is today dominated by German brands," de Nysschen said.
"I will not rest until Infiniti is universally entrenched as a global tier one automaker."
Room for growth
He said Infiniti covers less than 60 percent of the premium global market and has a lot of room for growth. He also said any automaker with aspirations of becoming a premium global player should have a comprehensive powertrain portfolio including forced-induction four- and six-cylinder gasoline and clean diesel engines.
He says there will be new crossovers, new sedans and "seductive" performance cars.
"We have plenty of opportunity for expansion," he added.
Until recently, Infiniti has been largely limited to the U.S. market which meant that it has not reached its potential in markets such as Europe and China, which have different powertrain requirements, de Nysschen said.
He said a Nissan manufacturing plant in Decherd, Tenn., will produce four-cylinder turbocharged engines for Infiniti and Daimler models.
Working with Daimler
In other comments, he also said:
- Jatco Ltd., a transmission company that is 75 percent owned by Nissan, will make Daimler automotive transmissions for both companies at its plant in Mexico;
- Infiniti will use diesel engines from Daimler; and
- The premium compact model based on the Etherea Concept will utilize architecture from Daimler.
Infiniti's new vehicle sales were up 22 percent to 119,877 units in 2012.
De Nysschen came to Infiniti from Audi of America in July with an assignment to build Infiniti's presence in North America and worldwide.