Four new vehicles have triggered Nissan North America's urgency to re-establish Nissan and Infiniti dealerships in pricey Manhattan.
Luxury dealer Gary Flom, owner of BNF Automotive Group, will put Nissan and Infiniti stores, with separate entrances, into a commercial building to be renovated at 787 11th Ave., in an auto-row area of Manhattan between West 54th and West 55th streets.
That building has been acquired by a real estate group for $250 million, according to local commercial property reports.
In addition to housing the Nissan stores, the building will include Flom's Jaguar and Land Rover dealerships and the offices of a hedge fund company, with plans to also install a tennis court on the building's roof, according to a report in the Commercial Observer, a New York real estate newspaper.
Flom will reintroduce Nissan and Infiniti to Manhattan, where the brands have been absent for more than a year, according to Leon Dorssers, Nissan North America vice president for dealer network development.
The previous Manhattan dealerships closed over issues with their leases, according to the automaker.
"The New York market in general is very important to both Nissan and Infiniti," Dorssers says. "But Manhattan, by itself, is also a very important market that offers us a lot of potential."
Dorssers says Infiniti will introduce two nameplates in the United States 2016 that could do well in Manhattan -- the Q30 hatchback and its related QX30 crossover. Both are compact premium vehicles that will be pitched to younger, more urban buyers.
Similarly, the Nissan brand last year introduced new generations of its higher-end Maxima sport sedan and its premium-leaning Murano crossover. Both are being targeted at higher income consumers than Nissan's other nameplates, making Manhattan ideal for marketing, Dorssers says.
Dorssers acknowledged that New York City's real estate prices make opening and operating car dealerships challenging. But he says Nissan is not paying to put the new stores in Manhattan. He says: "We will never go onto a market where it's not a viable business case."