Europe: Lexus and Infiniti try to offset low impact with risky, polarizing designs image

The European continent is a tough nut to crack for the Japanese premium automakers, as the customers are highly traditional and the German luxury rivals commend a major portion of the market.

But the luxury contenders from Japan are betting that their bold, risky and maybe even polarizing designs for the upcoming models will be enough to attract the attention of potential customers that might get tired of the traditionalists BMW, Mercedes and Audi. At the same time, most of the upcoming introductions come in the compact or small car segments, which usually don’t attract the attention of very traditionalist buyers. Across all premium brands the main reason for increasing their tally in the fuel-efficient compact and subcompact segments has to do with the need to reach to the continent’s increasingly tough emission regulations that will take effect at the start of the next decade. After all, when it comes to Infiniti, bold and risky is the name of the game, since mass-market brethren Nissan managed to spur the subcompact crossover segment with the introduction of the Juke – considered a very polarizing model in terms of design. So, Infiniti’s weapons in the segment are the Q30 – fighting with the BMW 1 Series and the QX30, pitted against the Audi Q3. Lexus hinted at upcoming plans in the two segments through the Geneva auto show March debut of the LF-SA concept, as a possible rival to the Audi A1 and Mini brand models.

Toyota’s premium counterpart, a regular presence in Europe for years, has always struggled against the dominant luxury brands, so the brand is now seeking access to the growing European entry-level premium segment in the compact and subcompact sectors. Infiniti in the meantime had an even lesser impact, but the Nissan owned brand seeks to change that through its alliance with Mercedes-Benz, as the Q30 and QX30 models are based on architectures sourced from the German competitor.

Via Automotive News Europe