Ever hear that the best stuff is saved for export? Just ask Japanese luxury car buyers. It's been decades since Japan's largest automakers set out to take on Europe's finest with dedicated luxury brands of their own, but they have kept those brands largely out of their own domestic market and sold them almost exclusively overseas. But that's beginning to change.
In 2005 Toyota launched the Lexus brand – which it had been exporting since 1989 – in Japan. Honda reportedly planned on bringing its Acura brand to its home market just a few years later, but ended up delaying the move. Now Nissan is reportedly preparing to launch the Infiniti lineup in its own backyard.
This according to a report published in the Japanese business daily Nikkei and now making the rounds of the English-language press. The plan apparently involves offering at least part of the Infiniti model line in domestic Nissan dealers, holding off for the time being on launching a separate dealer network in Japan.
The first model would be the new Infiniti Q50, whose predecessor the G37 had until now been sold in Japan as the Nissan Skyline. Just what that means for that legendary nameplate remains to be seen, particularly since the GT-R was split off from the Skyline family as its own dedicated model. As does the question of what other Infiniti models might follow the Q50 home to roost – a matter that will likely depend on how successful the Q50 sedan proves at fending off the German imports in Japan.