Geneva show – Infiniti targets compact market
Infiniti has today signalled its intention at expansion with the unveiling of a compact concept car at the Geneva show.
However it could be at least four years before the newest premium brand on the UK market goes after compact buyers with a production version of the Etherea.
According to Infiniti’s Global Business Unit head Toru Saito, the Etherea would bring down the age profile of Infiniti buyers.
“It is for younger buyers who do not want a smaller version of a typically conservative and traditional luxury car – it is for people who want a car that defines who they are, not who their parents were,” he says.
The concept is designed to turn heads, its coupe-like profile very different to potential rivals such as Audi’s A3. Curiously despite the low body profile, the driving position is higher than other contenders due to a raised floor, but with the seat itself swept back to produce a sporty feel.
Design head Shiro Nakamura says that the car is deliberately completely different from current luxury compact cars; “That is appropriate for a new generation of drivers who think of themselves as different.”
The Etherea is constructed around the current Nissan/Renault platform used under the current Megane, but and production model would be built on a new platform. Power for the concept comes from a 2.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid unit.
And while production may be some time away, Infiniti is clearly thinking along such lines, judging by the words of Advanced Product Manager Francois Bancon. “We think the market – and buyers of compact cars – is ready for a car like this, especially in Europe,” he says.
“As a vehicle to single out its owner as progressive, self confident and a little off the beaten path, Etherea fits very well with what Infiniti is all about.”
Photo: Headline Auto
Words by: Andrew Charman