Back in 1989, Lexus and Infiniti appeared on the scene. More specifically, they appeared on the American market. Toyota and Nissan, respectively, decided that if they were going to launch luxury marques, doing so in the U.S. was the place to do it. While the U.S. market has resumed its robustness, even in terms of buying vehicles with price points that evoke an eye roll from some people and smiles of delight from others (e.g., people writing car loans), it is far from being the only place where people want to get the kind of technology, designs, and engineering quality that Lexus and Infiniti bring.
For a long time, both brands built their cars in Japan. In 2003, Lexus added production of the RX crossover to its facility in Canada. The 2014 Infiniti QX60 is being manufactured in Smyrna, Tennessee. In April, Lexus announced it would be bringing the ES to Georgetown, Kentucky.
Infiniti Q30 Concept
But there are other places that have become more important in the sphere of these two companies. In 2012, Infiniti moved its headquarters from Yokohama to Hong Kong. Earlier this year, Lexus reorganized its management so that Mark Templin, who used to run Lexus in the U.S., is now the executive vice president of Lexus International, making him the first non-Japanese executive to oversee an operational division within the company’s global headquarters in Japan.
Last week, Infiniti announced that the Nissan Sunderland Plant in the U.K., will be expanded by 270,000 sq. ft., and in that space, come 2015, a new car will be built there. The Q30 Concept, revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week, is said to be “a design vision of the future European production model.”
Mercedes and BMW pretty much sell everywhere and have production well beyond their home markets, all the way to places like Alabama and South Carolina.
And now we’re seeing the same sort of things happen to two other brands who are in the battle in the luxury market.