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“So would this new Infiniti Q50 be the new JDM Nissan Skyline?” asked TTAC commenter luvmyv8. One of the benefits of having a TTAC editor on the other side of the globe, as opposed to in a basement in Peoria, is that we can get first-hand answers to luvmyv8, straight from Nissan’s and Infiniti’s top men.

“What I can tell you today is that the Skyline name will continue in Japan,” said Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn in regards to luvmyv8. When pressed further, Ghosn said that bringing Infiniti to Japan “has always been the object of a lot of discussion within the company.” Ghosn started his answer with a mild put-down:

“With the arrival of newcomers … by Johan de Nysschen now heading the Infiniti business, he also brought with him a lot of very competent people from the industry who have a very good knowledge of the premium market. We are debating and challenging everything. But so far there is no decision that has been taken about the introduction of the Infiniti brand to Japan. But it is being discussed. There are pros, there are cons. Usually, we make thorough business decisions based on the analysis of the pros and the cons. For the moment, all I can tell you is that there is no decision to introduce Infiniti in Japan. The Skyline will continue in Japan.”
TTAC readers know that Infiniti chief de Nysschen is a strong advocate of Infiniti coming home to Japan. In an interview last year in Hong Kong, de Nysschen said :

“Ironically, we take models that are unique Infiniti platforms, developed for Infiniti, and in Japan, we put a Nissan badge on them.”
De Nysschen may be a newcomer to Nissan, but not to Japan. He managed Audi’s business in Japan, and came here in 1999, at the same time as Ghosn arrived in Tokyo. Ghosn immediately wanted to hire de Nysschen, but had to take a rain-check. De Nysschen knows the market, and that it is not easy.

When a reporter asked de Nysschen in Tochigi about Infiniti’s homecoming plans, the questioner found himself instantly castigated:

“So, that means that if you ask Mr. Ghosn a question and he doesn’t answer, you are making another attempt to get an answer out of me?”
Nevertheless, there was an answer, delivered wrapped into de Nysschen’s trademark carefully carved sentences:

“To be a global brand, you might well want to compete in the premium sector in your domestic market.

We spend a lot of time talking about Infiniti brand values, and how those are to be communicated, not only in the tone and manner of our marketing and our advertising communication, but also, they need to be expressed and conveyed through the product, through design, through technology, through the engineering.

It seems to me to be very difficult for all the men and women who work on expressing these values in the Infiniti product to then not also seethe vehicle and the brand being available in the domestic market.

Also, in term s of the international flavor for the brand, our customers are internationally mobile. And one important cornerstone of premium brands is that wherever you encounter them, they are positioned consistently, they portray the same values and qualities, whether you meet them in New York, or in London, or in Beijing, or indeed in Tokyo.”
After having made a strong philosophical case for estranged Infiniti coming home, de Nysschen sees himself faced with the realities:

“One of the disadvantages of course is cost of entry. It is very expensive to set up a distribution network in Japan. Last time I looked, not too many free open spaces were shouting to come and build an automotive showroom.”
Again, this is coming from a former Audi manager who had busted a cozy (and largely unknown) distribution agreement between Volkswagen and Toyota, and who had talked Ferdinand Piech into setting up an exclusive network in Japan. Eventually, this led to the end of Volkswagen’s Japanese distribution agreement with Toyota. This case should be a required course in the education of carmakers, especially those who feel entitled to major shares of the Japanese market without really trying. Continued de Nysschen:

“It is my commitment that Infiniti will achieve profitable growth, and that we will achieve very quickly a positive contribution to the overall operating profit of Nissan. That means that we have to balance the speed with which we want to enter the Japanese market.”

I take that as a carefully wrapped no.

In regards to luvmyv8’s question and with regards to luvmyv8, de Nysschen said that “on the Skyline, I really have no further comments to add other than those already expressed by Mr. Ghosn. I would urge you to be patient for just a little while.”

As this is a question and answer session, let me try to answer 28-cars-lateer’s inquiry. He said: “Bertel, how do you get such access to Ghosn… is Nissan just *this* friendly to the press?” Instead of a simple and pat “yes,” let’s make a separate story out of that.

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I wasn't aware that the Infiniti brand wasn't sold in Japan. But I can see why since it is a relatively small market. And offering Infiniti would cannibalize Nissan.
 

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The Nissan Skyline is a name I haven't heard in a long time. I'm pretty sure they aren't sold in North America, but if it's still available in Japan then it makes sense why they don't want to sell the Q60s over there.
 

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Infiniti is a north american brand from what I could understand exact traits like Acura and how they are badged differently and have different names. I remember when the infiniti G35 was known as the skyline 350 GT.
 

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At the end of the day Infiniti is still pretty much nissan all the parts and engineering. But some USDM vehicles sold in north america don't exist in Japan. I have yet to see the M series in japan or know what its called over there.
 

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At the end of the day Infiniti is still pretty much nissan all the parts and engineering. But some USDM vehicles sold in north america don't exist in Japan. I have yet to see the M series in japan or know what its called over there.
This is true, Infiniti's were even more closer to Nissan's when Infiniti first started releasing cars and even a while after that but now Infiniti is becoming more and more of it's own brand, kinda like how Lexus is right now.
 

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This is true, Infiniti's were even more closer to Nissan's when Infiniti first started releasing cars and even a while after that but now Infiniti is becoming more and more of it's own brand, kinda like how Lexus is right now.
I don't totally agree with that. Just look at the new Pathfinder and JX. Buying a JX you are basically buying a fancy pathfinder, it's not like buying a Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover, etc, vehicles from brands that don't have their cheaper versions.
 

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This is true, Infiniti's were even more closer to Nissan's when Infiniti first started releasing cars and even a while after that but now Infiniti is becoming more and more of it's own brand, kinda like how Lexus is right now.
I'm starting to see Infiniti is getting better recognized by other people. Much more than before. People want an Infiniti. I don't think the same can be said about Nissan.
 

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The Nissan Skyline is a name I haven't heard in a long time. I'm pretty sure they aren't sold in North America, but if it's still available in Japan then it makes sense why they don't want to sell the Q60s over there.
They will probably sell the Q60 in Japan, but it will be a will be called a Nissan Skyline Coupe.
 

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I noticed that wit the old G coupes in Japan they make them as Nissans and call them the Skyline 350GT. Not sure what it will be called this time around.
 

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I have seen a couple of those japanese car magazines and seen the pictures of even the newer infiniti G37 as a skyline over there. They call it a Skyline 370GT.


 

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I guess its a matter of rebadging them. It would be much more difficult to have the brand Infiniti legally over there. But they still are pretty much the same cars. Just like how some of the Acura TLs over in a japan is known as the Honda Inspire.
 

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It would be cool to still see these badged as the Skyline but Infiniti has grown so much that they could very well sell these as the Infiniti Q50 in Japan. I know Lexus is Lexus is Japan, they no longer are rebadged to Toyota
 
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