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Infiniti recruiting fleet sales managers

Date: 02 October 2009   |   Author: Rupert Saunders

The UK's newest car brand, Infiniti, is getting ready to tackle the business car market despite having only a limited model line-up equipped solely with petrol engines.

The company's first UK fleet sales manager will be appointed in the next two weeks and executives are planning ride-drive events for major leasing firms in early November.

Infiniti, which is owned by Nissan, opened its first UK sales centre, in Reading, last month and plans to have other outlets in Glasgow, Birmingham and west London open by the end of next year. The target is to have at least 13 dealerships to provide nationwide sales coverage by 2013.

Emmanuel Bussiere, Infiniti Europe corporate sales manager, said initial contact with major fleet and leasing operators would be made through the central Renault-Nissan fleet department but cars would be delivered through Infiniti dealerships so customers could "enjoy the full Infiniti experience".

"We have good friends in Renault-Nissan who have those fleet contacts so, of course, we will be using them. But there will be a fleet sales manager in all of our bigger centres and eventually there will be corporate sales directors for groups of dealerships."

Experience from continental Europe, where Infiniti launched almost exactly a year ago, suggests around 60% of sales will be to business users - though many of those will be entrepreneurs or business owners rather than essential users.

"We do not have any leasing rates available yet because we are still waiting for full residual values from the guides," said Bussiere. "But we are already able offer a full range of finance products from our captive finance company, RCI (Renault Credit International).

"We understand that leasing companies will be nervous to take a risk on Infiniti so we will offer them buy-back terms, no problem. It will also mean we start to get cars back for our used car forecourts. The ideal would be to get 100% sold back through our own centres."

Initial indications from CAP suggest the Infiniti G37, which is available as saloon, coupe and cabriolet, will outperform Audi A4/A5 and BMW 330i on residuals while the EX37 SUV will be comparable with the BMW X3 and the FX37 sports crossover will compare with the BMW X6.