Premium-branded Japanese cars are nothing new in the U.S., with Acura launching in the U.S. in 1986, and Lexus and Infiniti following a few years later in 1989. But until recently, these brands did not have any formal recognition in the country where most of the models were actually built – Japan. A Reuters report claims Nissan will start selling the latest generation of the Nissan Skyline sedan, sold as the Infiniti Q50 in the U.S. as an Infiniti in Japan.
Unlike Infiniti’s U.S. dealerships, which are typically stand-alone showrooms separate from Nissan dealers, the new Infiniti models will be sold at Nissan dealers in Japan. For the time being, the Q50 will be the only Infiniti model sold. Expanding Infiniti’s model offerings in Japan will depend on sales growth. Why now? Nissan is reportedly launching its upscale brand in its home market to counter strong demand for upscale European models in Japan.
Lexus, Toyota’s upscale luxury division, which began selling cars in the U.S. in 1989, started selling cars in Japan in 2005. Honda had plans to begin selling Acura-branded models in Japan starting in 2008, but as of now, does not sell any Acuras in Japan.