Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Infiniti and Renault "haut de gamme"

In our comments about the arrival of Infiniti in Europe (check previous entries here, here, here and here) we already mentioned that Renault can focus on mainstream while Infiniti will be targeted at the luxury segment. However, Renault wants to be leader in profitability amongst the mainstream manufacturers (on this information check this Renault strategy document). For that purpose several actions will be taken including a move to more serious, classic and elegant design (both exterior and interior) and improvements in perceived quality. One of the most expected future cars from Renault is their substitute for the Velsatis. Again, Renault has good chances by using the platform of the Infiniti M-sedan. However, I would not be surprised if they follow a different route from the classical 4-door sedan. While using Infiniti underpinnings Renault can choose to make a 4-door coupe following the Mercedes CLS lead. Or maybe develop a crossover vehicle seating up to 7 persons (and following the Mercedes R-class lead). Both of this options are good alternatives for the future Renault haut de gamme, knowing that by using the Infiniti platform Renault will gain much of the features needed to have credibility in this segment: big engines and RWD. And the lack of those features sure undermined the efforts of Renault (and other French manufacturers) in the luxury segment in the past.

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