Infiniti Canada is floating a plan to allow its dealers to consolidate the luxury brand and Nissan nameplate under one rooftop as a way to reduce brick-and-mortar costs in the wake of the explosion in online shopping.
But some retailers criticize the automaker’s shift from standalone stores, saying it means expensive renovations to retrofit their Nissan stores and ignores the real problem facing Infiniti: lack of new product.
“For the past five years, Infiniti has promised us we have all this product coming, it was going to be a booming franchise,” said Rick O’Neill, president of O’Neill Auto Group, which operates an Infiniti store in Mount Pearl, just outside of St. John’s, Nfld. “Now they are saying we’re not sure the throughput’s going to be what it needs to be.”
Steve Rhind, managing director of Infiniti Canada, said in an email that the automaker’s decision to relocate its headquarters to Japan last year as well as market trends were among the factors that prompted the brand to “reevaluate and reset its product strategy.
“With a renewed focus on the customer-centric approach to luxury that has always been a hallmark of Infiniti, we are committed to offering buyers of the future with choice,” he said, declining comment on future products.