Nissan says Fuga Tokyo concept will be next Infiniti M45
By KATHY JACKSON | Automotive News
The Nissan Fuga debuted at the Tokyo motor show.
TOKYO -- The Fuga show car on the Nissan stand at the Tokyo Motor Show will be the new Infiniti M45, sources confirm.
With a four-person seating capacity, the sporty-looking sedan shares a platform with the Infiniti G35 and FX45 and the Nissan 350Z. It will come with both six- and eight-cylinder engines and in rear-drive and all-wheel-drive versions.
The M45, which will debut at the end of 2004 as a 2005 model, is crucial to Infiniti's growth plans in the United States.
"When we replace the M, I'm expecting sales to rise," said Norio Matsumura, executive vice president of global sales and marketing for Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. "With the styling and roominess of the new M and also the quality interior, I put it in the first-tier luxury mode."
The show car featured a plush leather interior and telematics.
"For Infiniti, interior is very important," Matsumura said.
U.S. dealers sold only 468 M45s in September and 3,508 for the nine months ending Sept. 30.
Matsumura would not estimate the number of sales for the new M45, but he expects Infiniti sales to be about 100,000 in the United States this year and to be considerably higher with the arrival of the new M.
Infiniti sales were up 40.7 percent through September to 89,856. But its volume lagged luxury leader Lexus, which had sales of 186,009 for the same period.
Infinitis are sold only in the United States. Matsumura says he doubts the brand will go global, although Nissan President Carlos Ghosn was quoted in the Financial Times last week as saying the company was studying the possibility of extending Infiniti to Japan and Europe.
"It is my dream to make Infiniti global, but that is not a reality due to regulations, etc., around the world," Matsumura says. "You have to spend a lot of money."
2001 CL Type S
2001 Lexus RX300 Silversport