Everyone wants a thriving luxury brand. Margins go up, research and development is subsidized for vehicles downstream, and you get an image boost. Problem is, it’s easier said than done. Years ago, Nissan set out on doing it with Infiniti. Today, it is still mostly confined to the United States. Nissan is hoping to change that over the next few years, but still – 25 years later and Infiniti isn’t a dominant force in any market around the world.
Now Renault is looking to get into the business.They haven’t been sold in the U.S for years, and there isn’t any plans to change that. Where they do want to focus on though is their home market of France, along with emerging (when will they have emerged?) like China and India.
Given Renault is under the Nissan umbrella, we thought Infiniti would serve that purpose. Apparently not, maybe for the reasons listed formally. Rival Citroen is looking to get into the game as well with its “DS” line of premium models. Renault’s line is expected to be called “Initiale Paris.” Very French, as with everything Renault does.
You may remember the company debuted a concept under that moniker back in the 1990s. Instead of going for broke right off the bat though with a full luxury line launch, Renault wants to take it slow, much like Citroen is doing. This isn’t just hearsay either, it comes directly from Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares. “We plan to start with something that will be similar to Citroen’s DS series that will eventually become something like Infiniti at Nissan,” Tavares told Automotive News Europe in an interview.
With a long term plan in mind, Renault aims to launch Initiale Paris as a sub brand. The first model could be a new flagship sedan, replacing the Vel Satis that went out of production in 2009. We love quirkiness and the French do it very well. While they’ve tried (and failed) with the Vel Satis, we’e eager to see what Renault comes up with on a luxury level. Citroen seems to be doing a bang up job so far.