A recent interview with Carlos Ghosn, Nissan Motor's CEO, started out as a discussion about where the company was going, and Nissan's current plan to US market share from 8% to 10% by 2017.
But as always, Nissan's Zero Emission electric vehicle strategy quickly came to the forefront.
In an interview with Automotive News, Mr. Ghosn is asked specifically about the shortcomings of Infiniti, does the brand need a flagship, and what role will the Infiniti LE (an all-electric EV) play in the brand.
Zero emissions, for me, is here to stay even though it's not selling as well as we thought. You're going to see more and more zero-emissions cars. And this is totally normal, that we have at least one Infiniti car. It's obviously a flagship car, but it's also a car that will be developed and produced to sell.
Mr. Ghosn also notes that part of Infiniti (and Nissan to some extend) is the brand's "dependence on Japan" and that Nissan's main priority is to balance more our supply chain of Infiniti products to reflect, in a better way, where we are selling those products. The new Infiniti although not confirmed by Nissan to be built in Smyrna, TN in the fall of next year; will be built in Smyrna in the fall of next year.
When asked if Nissan has overinvested in the segment with the amount of worldwide capacity that is currently coming online, the CEO says no.
"I don't think so because our investments today correspond to about 500,000 cars a year. We feel very comfortable in the potential for at least 500,000 cars a year. We're following carefully what's going on in China. We're following very carefully the new incentives that are in France to encourage electric cars. No matter what, the United States is going to have to embrace electric cars in a way that is more sustainable. Japan is already doing it.
No, we don't think that we overinvested in this."
The Infiniti LE is scheduled to go into production in late 2013. The biggest question on the Infiniti LE however still remains unanswered, will this be the first mass production application of more powerful, 2nd gen lithium battery technology?
Full interview at Automotive News
Updated: March 5, 2013