IRVINE, CA – The upcoming Infiniti Q30 compact car will spin off several variants and boast an "opulent" interior targeting younger buyers, a top brand official says.
“There will be several derivatives of the car,” Infiniti Senior Vice President Johan de Nysschen tells WardsAuto at’s 360 global media event here. Among them will be a sporty compact car, but also a version that will “straddle the line into the crossover segment.”
A photo of the Q30 concept, being shown Sept. 10 at the Frankfurt auto show, reveals a hatchback-style variant with a steeply sloped rear roofline.
De Nysschen promises thepremium-brand’s new Q30 will “deliver” on being a driver’s car, and Infiniti is planning multiple engine offerings toward that goal, including a diesel for Europe. However, he predicts the car’s interior will be the major draw for younger buyers.
“We’ve got a very clear understanding of our target customer,” he says. “We know that the young premium consumer grew up in, if not affluent, then at the very least upper-middle-class homes.
“And they are very familiar with premium brands. They’ve got Apple devices, the latest in clothing attire, and as they enter the market they want to continue to retain this association of finer-quality premium brands.”
As such, de Nysschen says the Q30 interior will have “total authenticity of materials. I think (that will) resonate well…with the ladies who like their Louis Vuitton handbags, for example. They can find that quality of material on the inside” of the Q30.
Infiniti has not revealed the price of the Q30, but de Nysschen hints it will be relatively affordable. The targeted younger buyers don’t have the “level of disposable income to finance their exotic tastes. They have to downsize a little bit, and that is exactly where the car is positioned.”
Infiniti’s lowest-priced offering in the U.S. is the midsize G37 sedan, which begins at $32,550 and is being replaced by the new ’14 Q50 sedan. While the smaller Q30 will be sold in the U.S., its primary market will be Europe, where the brand has been absent in the compact-car segment.
De Nysschen says it will take roughly 18 months until production of the three Q30 derivatives is fully ramped up, and Infiniti already has entered the global markets where it wants to sell the car.
“Once we’re firing on all cylinders, we anticipate that the global volume should be between 40,000 and 50,000 (units) per year.”
Nissan’s Sunderland, U.K., plant will be the sole source of the Q30. The car is set to go on sale in 2015, although Infiniti has not specified when production will launch.
While Infiniti is hopeful the car will reach the targeted demographic, de Nysschen harbors no illusions about the difficulty of entering a segment with established players including the Audi A3,1-Series, Volvo C30 and new Mercedes CLA.
“We are the challenger brand,” he says. “We don’t anticipate we’re going to walk in there and suddenly capture 100% market share. There are many things that have to follow.”