- More luxury shoppers demanding sustainable features
- Infiniti luxury electric car due in 2014
- "EV Insiders" panel will help shape Infiniti EV
In this time of economic strife, luxury living sometimes gets a bad rap for being unsustainable. But the reality is that "sustainable" and "luxury" are two words that increasingly go hand in hand.
Homing in on this trend, Infiniti has unveiled the LE Concept - a luxury electric car concept that's fairly close to what the future Infiniti EV will look like when it goes on sale in 2014. While the LE is based on the Nissan Leaf platform, Infiniti has promised it will deliver on the brand's "inspired performance" manifesto and says a luxury electric car is a logical next step.
I've been asked to be part of a group called the "Infiniti EV Insiders," where over the next year I'll get a behind the scenes look at just how Infiniti plans on melding green and luxury. The EV Insiders panel kicked off at the 2012 New York Auto Show with the unveiling of the LE Concept by Nissan/Infiniti's CEO, Carlos Ghosn. Before the official unveil, Ghosn and other executives sat down with the panel and provided insight on why an Infiniti electric car makes sense.
"The EV is here to stay," said Ghosn during the roundtable. "They are going to represent an important segment of the car industry and we will offer EV products that span from entry level to luxury. We started by addressing the middle of the market with the Nissan Leaf, and we will also address the entry level soon, but our next most logical step was to move up market with an Infiniti luxury electric because people driving luxury cars are particularly interested in the environment."
According to Infiniti their typical luxury car buyer has a higher income and more tech-savvy than the average car buyer - two things that are also common in the typical electric car buyer. Infiniti buyers also tend to be younger than other luxury car buyers, which is another trait of electric car buyers.
"Although we expect to see a large number of customers for the Infiniti EV who are new to the brand, we also think that a luxury electric vehicle will appeal even to our existing customers based on their typical profile," said Brian Carolin, Nissan/Infiniti's Senior VP of Sales and Marketing. "In many ways Leaf purchasers already fit the profile for the customers we are targeting for a luxury electric car and many of them will be tempted by the opportunity to trade up to an Infiniti EV."
Ben Poore, VP of the Infiniti Brand, says that he pushed hard to ensure that an Infiniti EV was the next electric car launched from Nissan and Infiniti. "Moving forward there will be more and more people who will only buy luxury products if they have some sort of sustainability effort behind them," he said, citing the fact that many luxury car owners already have a Prius or Leaf in their driveway as a way to indicate their core values. "At Infiniti we believe that when we can bring luxury and sustainability together in one vehicle, we've hit on something that no other major manufacturer has right now."
What it means to you: The era of green luxury cars is upon us, and Infiniti hopes to attract environmentally conscious luxury car buyers with its upcoming 2014 Infiniti EV.