GENEVA -- Infiniti's QX30 crossover concept, unveiled here last week, should boost the brand's sales in North America and Europe, but it also will help Infiniti expand its dealer body in markets outside North America.
"It's a very good business proposal for dealers who are interested in investing in dealerships with Infiniti of Europe," says Roland Krueger, president of Infiniti Motor Co. worldwide. "This model gives us access to a volume base that we couldn't previously offer to our business partners. We're seeing investors come forward to talk to us now."
Infiniti officials met with retailers at its Geneva show stand to discuss dealership opportunities and inspect the new crossover, which will reach showrooms in 2016.
The brand also has been working with its U.S. retailers to make sure the new Q30 compact hatch launches correctly in the United States late this year, followed by the QX30 crossover, its sister model, next year.
Compact crossovers are a growing segment in the U.S., but they represent some of Europe's biggest volumes, for both mass-market and luxury lines. Until now, Infiniti has been absent from the segment.
"Everybody's targeting that segment," Krueger says. "It's an important source of sales for us, for conquesting and upgrading, as consumers move up from mass-market brands."
Infiniti's global sales rose 14 percent last year as it worked to expand its presence outside the United States to the U.K., Germany, Russia, China and other markets. It sold 68,870 vehicles outside the U.S. last year.
The brand remains little known in some luxury markets, such as Germany, where it has just six dealerships.
Krueger says Infiniti will be adding more dealers in Europe -- Germany in particular -- in the coming year. He broke away from the show to visit an Infiniti dealership and service center that was under construction in downtown Geneva. That outlet will become Infiniti's 67th European store.