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.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      TangoR34
      • 1 Year Ago
      If they ditch the Skyline in favor for Infiniti then they would lose a flagship that has Ben around for 50 years.
      Cruising
      • 1 Year Ago
      They would have to divorce the Cima/Fuga/Skyline from Nissan's lineup. But I'll be honest visually the Cima/Fuga/Skyline don't really blend in much with the rest of Nissan Japan's product range, maybe that's just from our point of view since we are use to Infiniti.
        Cruising
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Cruising
        But I guess the Q30 and proposed Q70 flagship would be unique to the Japanese market. I would launch Infiniti in Japan with a new model like the Q30 or 70.
      transam
      • 1 Year Ago
      Infiniti's have always been available in Japan, they were just not called as such; they were Nissan models. The entire first paragraph of this post is misleading and innacurate. Japanese buyers always had access to virtually the exact same models under different names. The post should have simply been about Nissan rebranding several of its "luxury" models as Infinitis in Japan. This strikes me as rather ignorant reporting, but alas, this is AB.
        Herman Exum
        • 1 Year Ago
        @transam
        except for the Infiniti FX (QX70). there's no direct Nissan version sold in Japan and remains exclusive to the luxury brand.
          Carmaker1
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Herman Exum
          Thank you. Some guy referred to my sister's FX as a prettied up, sporty Murano, when both vehicles are entirely unrelated, save for class size and model line-up positioning.
      bK
      • 1 Year Ago
      Doesn't make sense since they have sell the exact same version of the infiniti line as Nissan over there. Unless their gonna start designing infiniti exclusive cars.
        jonnybimmer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bK
        It's about distancing themselves from their parent company brand. No one will ever see Infiniti as a serious premium brand if there's still some versions sold as "Nissan", even if it is in another market. They won't sell some as Nissan and some as Infiniti, those models that are currently shared will need to take a brand. The Skyline will likely die while the Patrol might remain a Nissan model and be cut out from Infiniti, though I wouldn't be too hopeful with that one since it appears people don't mind "badge engineered" SUV's (Lexus LX, Audi Q7, Cadillac Escalade, so on) like they do with cars.
      psedog
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wonder if that means I can finally get service for my G35 here in Japan... I doubt it though. Nissan won't touch it because it has a US VIN. Lame, right.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @psedog
        [blocked]
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        jonnybimmer
        • 1 Year Ago
        This is what I'm hoping as well. I mean, the Skyline has been around longer than the 911 or Mustang! I'd love to see Nissan develop a brand new Skyline (maybe have it re-attached with the GT-R brand again, there are rumors of making the next gen more accessible than the current gen) or at the very least, have it a separate model line that shares a platform with the Q50 or other similar RWD sedan model. There would be plenty of people upset if they really killed the name.
      jonnybimmer
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well it's a step in the right direction. Personally, I believe Lexus is still the only real Japanese luxury brand for many reasons, but among one of them is their efforts to focus Lexus's brand identity and to reduce its association with Toyota. With exception of a few SUV's, I'd say they've pulled it off really well, and one of the key moves to achieve that was to introduce Lexus to the JDM and to stop selling its models badged as Toyota. Once Lexus was able to successfully sell cars that people have truly (and literally) always known as "Toyotas" as a higher brand, that is when the brand truly became its own. Nissan should have started doing this years ago when they introduced Infiniti to Europe, but considering the changes with its lineup since, maybe it was for the better not to have. IMO, Infiniti has always had the potential to be a great brand (Nissan knows how to make great cars and Infiniti has had success before with their G35). They just really need to focus their direction and make strong (in both style and performance/quality) cars.
      creamwobbly
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Ever hear that the best stuff is saved for export?" No, actually. I typically hear the opposite. But that's in regard to European beer and cheese, so I suppose it may be different in the automotive world.
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