I’m not going to lie, it still feels weird using “Stellantis” to refer to the combined Fiat-Chrysler-Peugeot-Citröen etc. supergroup, but, well, here we are. While not many of Stellantis’ plans are actually known yet, it’s never too early for me to start giving them some entirely unsolicited advice. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do, starting with this: if they really wanted to be the death of Renault-Nissan’s Infiniti premium brand, bringing the DS brand to America could do it. I’ll explain.
Infiniti started over 30 years ago as Nissan’s luxury brand in America, and it started quite strongly, with a well-defined and bold vision. Infiniti had a unique take on Japanese luxury, and made cars that reflected this elegant and appealing set of characteristics.
At first, at least. Over the years, Infiniti has lost more and more of its unique qualities, and today they’re making some nice enough SUVs and crossovers with weird D-pillars and a sedan and coupé no one really buys.
It’s not just me being cynical here; America, collectively and with its dollars has sent a pretty clear message to Infiniti that they really don’t give a shit.
As of the end of last year, Infiniti’s U.S. market share was 0.69 percent; Lexus, likely its most analogous rival in the premium-Japanese mainstream car/SUV market, has a 1.88 percent share and sales that are actually rising. If we’re going to be brutally honest, Infiniti is pretty boned.
Now, this is Renault-Nissan’s problem, not Stellantis’, but if Stellantis wanted to effectively eat Infiniti’s lunch here, I think they could.
Maybe Nissan-Renault could pour resources into Infiniti and try and re-vitalize the brand? Pivot to an all EV brand? Maybe. But, so far, we…