Posts Tagged ‘johan de nysschen’

Infiniti Boss Johan de Nysschen Departs as Sales Grow

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Former Infiniti boss Johan de Nysschen

After just two brief years as the president of Infiniti Motor Co., boss Johan de Nysschen has officially resigned. He personally handed his letter of resignation to Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn approximately one week ago, and will leave by the end of the month.

Stefan Weinmann, Infiniti’s general manager of global communications, told The Wall Street Journal a bit more about what prompted de Nysschen’s departure. He bluntly explains that, “He left to pursue other opportunities. We have started to search for a successor.”

What “other opportunities” could Weinmann be talking about?

Turns out, the former Infiniti president is moving over to General Motors as the head of their premium brand, Cadillac. That’s right; the former Audi boss got poached again. He’d apparently been disgruntled under Ghosn from the start, quoted early in his employment as saying that the Nissan CEO’s goal of 500k premium car sales by 2020 was entirely unrealistic.

So, what does this mean for Nissan’s luxury arm?

Right now, not much. Nissan CPO Andy Palmer will take over the reins at Infiniti until a suitable replacement can be found. More importantly, Nissan is still confident about the brand’s future, stating, “We’re convinced that [Infiniti] has a very promising future and Johan’s departure doesn’t change that potential.” An analyst from Macquarie Securities named Janet Lewis also told WSJ that the loss of de Nysschen shouldn’t have any effect on the company’s performance.

At this point, you might be curious about what Johan de Nysschen accomplished during his time at Infiniti. In short, he helped, but he still had more to do.

2014 Infinti Q50

Infiniti’s US sales are still an unsolved problem, as Infiniti continues to lose market share to the likes of Audi and Lexus. However, international sales are growing enough to make up for it, with the biggest sales potential coming from China. The new Infiniti Q50 has been an especially huge hit there, making up 50% of the brand’s total sales since its launch at the beginning of 2014. Just a week ago, before his resignation went public, de Nysschen estimated that they could quadruple their sales in China by the end of 2016.

In the end, there’s nothing to be worried about. Both Carlos Ghosn and Andy Palmer have had a hand in Infiniti’s direction since before de Nysschen ever joined the force, and they’ll continue to do so into the future. And so Infiniti will continue to launch all the new products that have planned for the next couple years. They’ll continue to expand production to new markets like China, and they’ll continue to make profitable joint ventures with luxury titans like Mercedes. The only thing we have to worry about is who will step in next to boost Infiniti’s progress in the right direction.


New Infiniti ESQ Luxury Crossover to Launch in China

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Today Infiniti released their first teaser images of a brand-new luxury crossover they’re planning to launch exclusively in the Chinese market. It’s called the Infiniti ESQ, and CEO Johan De Nysschen described it to our friends at Jalopnik as an “irreverent lifestyle car for the hedonistic rebel.”

Are you getting excited yet? You should be; it’s not very often that we get a brand-new Infiniti to talk about completely out of the blue.

Infiniti ESQ Grille

Unfortunately, this new Infiniti ESQ luxury crossover isn’t actually a new vehicle… At least, not by the strictest definition of the word. Instead, it’s essentially a rebadged, premium-spec Nissan Juke NISMO.

If you’re anything like me, the thought of a rebadged Infiniti isn’t very appealing. After all, it seems like a rip off at first glance, and we’re not the only ones who feel that way. So, why is Infiniti risking their brand’s image with this endeavor?

Glad you asked. There are three reasons, actually.

First, De Nysschen importantly notes that China is home to the largest youth premium market in the world, and it’s getting bigger every year. There’s a big reward for building a brand presence there.

Second, the Nissan juke isn’t available in China anyways, so it’s not like they’re double-dipping.

Finally, Infiniti has already been considering a new “youth-oriented premium compact” for larger international markets. The new Infiniti ESQ is essentially an experiment to test the market’s response to this kind of car before they “sink a fortune into an untried concept.”

Infiniti ESQ Wheels

Looking through the images that Infiniti has provided for us, there are a few key features that distinguish the Infiniti ESQ from the ‘normal’ Nissan Juke NISMO. The Juke’s V-motion grille has been replaced in favor of a wavy mesh grille that’s much more becoming of an Infiniti. As you might expect, snazzy ESQ and Infiniti badging can be found throughout the design, and the Juke’s 18-inch 10-spoke NISMO wheels have been chrome-finished.

We don’t actually have any images of the new Infiniti ESQ’s interior other than the below image of the crossover’s dash. From the looks of it, it’s identical to the Juke NISMO’s dash save for the Infiniti logo on the steering wheel. Still, we assume that the interior’s materials/colors/tech. have all received minor upgrades to help the ESQ feel like a more refined version of its purely performance-oriented counterpart.

Infiniti ESQ Dash

Whatever your feelings are about cross-brand badging, hopefully you can appreciate the new Infiniti ESQ for what it is – an experiment that could lead to something bigger down the road. Either way, we’re willing to bet that there are plenty of young, hedonistic Chinese drivers who are ready and willing to fork over plenty of Yen for one of these new luxury crossovers.