Nissan’s premium brand Infiniti is hoping to fully establish a fleet business in the UK with core fleet models in the lower medium and small SUV segments.

Carl Bayliss, newly appointed UK regional director for Infiniti, told BusinessCar that the Q50 upper medium saloon was a “toe in the water” for fleet and admitted the brand’s fleet operation was still very much in its infancy.

Bayliss is confident Infiniti’s products offer a credible alternative to the “legions of executive” cars currently on sale in the UK.

He said: “There’s very little to differentiate competitors in the UK’s premium segment at the moment and we think we certainly offer something unique in terms of design and experience.”

Infiniti will see its Q30 lower medium model arrive in the UK this year and there will also be a new small SUV QX30 built on the same platform. The Q30 is being built at Nissan’s Sunderland factory, so it will give Infiniti local supply for the first time.

Bayliss also said Infiniti is making progress on introducing more diesel technology into its products.

He said: “Traditionally, we’ve had quite a US-centric powertrain strategy, but we’ve got the 2.2-litre diesel and we’re getting more of a global focus with what’s coming now.”

Bayliss said that while nothing was confirmed, the firm is looking at introducing a smaller-capacity diesel with improved efficiency figures in the future.

Infiniti’s current 2.2-litre diesel offers CO2 of 114g/km in the Q50 saloon. While that’s not bad, the firm will need lower-CO2 engines to compete on a whole-life costs basis with premium competitors.

There are a “couple of people” working on Infiniti’s fleet sales in the UK, but the onus will be on being driven by those user choosers who are intrigued by something different. It’s described as a pull strategy, rather than push.

Bayliss said: “We’re building our fleet business on a local level with SMEs.”

He added that it was possible the Renault-Nissan group’s fleet teams could collaborate in the background to introduce Infiniti as a premium offering when talking with larger fleet clients. However, he said that while cross-brand deals have happened in Europe, it was “still under consideration” for the UK.

Infiniti will be focusing on adding more dealers to its UK network of 10 this year and organising its own retail group after parting ways with two dealer groups late last year. Infiniti Maidstone in Kent is the latest dealership to open.

Bayliss said Infiniti was sidestepping talking about specifics in terms of volume aspirations at this stage, preferring to focus on continuing to establish the brand in the UK.