Infiniti has struggled to raise market share in a period of buoyant luxury sales, and when Nissan Motor Corp. is pressing for a bigger corporate share of the U.S. market.
Infiniti’s U.S. sales totaled 117,330 last year, a rise of 1 percent from 2013, despite a 6 percent increase in luxury sales across the market.
Awaiting new products
The brand is waiting on a stream of new products, including the compact Q30 hatchback, due at the end of this year, and the redesigned Q60 coupe in 2016.
Other new products will come in 2017 -- leaving Infiniti retailers to bolster their operations this year through improved brand awareness and increased used-vehicle sales, Bartsch recently told Automotive News.
But Nissan management is under the gun to meet Ghosn’s target of a 10 percent combined Nissan and Infiniti U.S. market share by March 2017, up from 8.4 percent at the end of December.
The newly appointed Parker has been a fast-rising sales executive with the Nissan brand over the past two years.
Parker, whom Munoz recruited to Nissan in April 2013, was formerly with General Motors and its GMAC captive finance arm.
Just a year and a half after joining Nissan as the West Region’s regional vice president, he was promoted to vice president over the region, which delivers Nissan’s biggest sales volume.
Parker’s November 2014 promotion was part of Munoz’s plan to bestow more decision-making power at the regional level of the Nissan brand -- a strategy Munoz believes will free up regional executives to direct vehicle deliveries to dealers where sales opportunities are strongest.
Sales for Nissan’s West Region have increased 15 percent for Nissan’s fiscal year to date, which ends March 31, 2015, according to a Nissan spokesman. That compares to a sales increase of between 11 and 12 percent for Nissan nationally.
Parker will report to Roland Krueger, president of Infiniti Motor Co. Ltd. in Hong Kong, who replaced de Nysschen last year.
Nissan Motor Corp. has made efforts to separate the Infiniti and Nissan brands globally over the past two years, as evidenced by the creation of a free-standing Infiniti limited company, and its headquarters relocation from Japan to Hong Kong.
However, operations for Infiniti Americas also fall under the umbrella of Nissan North America and its chairman, Munoz. Munoz additionally represents the corporation’s North American interests as an executive vice president in Yokohama.